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SKA SA Programme Overview. SA-India Astronomy Workshop Cape Town, Aug 2012. Jasper Horrell. Outline. Why SKA for Africa ? Why SKA SA? SKA Org & Site Decision SKA Construction MeerKAT and KAT- 7 O ther major SKA SA progammes Conclusion. Why SKA for Africa?.

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ska sa programme overview

SKA SA Programme Overview

SA-India Astronomy Workshop

Cape Town, Aug2012

Jasper Horrell

  • Why SKA for Africa? Why SKA SA?
  • SKA Org & Site Decision
  • SKA Construction
  • MeerKATand KAT-7
  • Other major SKA SA progammes
  • Conclusion
why ska for africa
Why SKA for Africa?
  • By far the world’s largest radio telescope
  • Driving innovation, high tech skills, probing the deepest questions in science
  • Born global, crosses borders
  • Requires an excellent, radio quiet location
  • Links countries, governments, business, academia
  • Medium term construction & long term operations (30-50 years)
ska south africa project
SKA South Africa Project
  • Mission-driven project, established by Department of Science and Technology
  • Administered as a business unit of NRF
  • Compete for the SKA siting
  • Establish and protect a world class site for radio astronomy – geographic advantage
  • Build a world-class SKA precursor telescope (MeerKAT)
  • Develop human capital – skills advantage
ska organization
SKA Organization
  • Established as a non-profit company in UK
  • Contributions from Member Countries
  • Controlled by Board of Directors, drawn from Member countries
  • SKA Organization HQ (and Project Director) based in UK
  • Currently: Netherlands, Australia, NZ, UK, Canada, RSA, China, Sweden, Italy. India is associate member. More expected.
ska site decision
SKA Site Decision
  • Recommendation of the SSAC went to SA
  • Decision of the SKA Org:

Most of the telescope will be built in Africa

pathfinders and ska1
Pathfinders and SKA1
  • MeerKAT and ASKAP pathfinders to be incorporated into SKA Phase 1
  • Details still to be negotiated.
  • SKA1_Mid: 64 MeerKAT dishes + ~190 SKA dishes
  • SKA1_Survey: 36 ASKAP dishes + ~60 SKA dishes
karoo radio astronomy protected reserve

500 km

Karoo Radio Astronomy Protected Reserve

Protected by government legislation

ska development
SKA Development
  • Call for “Expressions of Interest”: responses received and collated
  • Much interest expressed
  • Self-funding for next 18 months
  • RFPs to be issuedOctoberthis year after restructuring of work following the split site decision and pathfinder incorporation
  • We are also responding to a call to provide SE and PM resources to central office
ska development1
SKA Development
  • We are collaborating actively with NCRA to set up a consortium to bid for Telescope Manager (monitor and control) portion of SKA development
meerkat status
MeerKAT Status
  • We remain committed to completing MeerKAT construction by 2016
  • Award of 64-dish MeerKAT antenna contract
  • MeerKAT roads & infrastructure under construction
  • Subsystem development on track
  • Work on integration of MeerKAT with SKA is proceeding (64 + 190 dishes)

Largest radio telescope in Southern Hemisphere

Design aligned with SKA reference design for dishes

0.58-14 GHz ~ 300m2/K (<20K Tsys)

Science 2016

MeerKAT - SKA Precursor

meerkat large survey projects
MeerKAT Large Survey Projects
  • Radio Pulsar Timing (Bailes)
  • LADUMA - ultra deep HI survey (Blyth, Holwerda, Baker)
  • MESMER - high redshift CO (Heywood)
  • MeerKAT Absorption Line Survey (Gupta, Srianand)
  • MHONGOOSE - nearby HI (de Blok)
  • TRAPUM - fast transients and pulsars (Stappers, Kramer)
  • HI Survey of Fornax Cluster (Serra)
  • MeerGAL - high frequency galactic plan survey (Thompson, Goedhart)
  • MIGHTEE - deep continuum (van der Heyden, Jarvis)
  • ThunderKAT - explosive / "slow" transients (Woudt, Fender)
future meerkat on site complex expansion complete in 2013 ska phase 1 ready
Future MeerKAT On-site Complex Expansion(complete in 2013)SKA Phase 1 ready

Bunkered and RFI shielded

processor buidling and power room

Pedestal integration shed

Dish assembly

shed extension

new infrastructure underway
New Infrastructure Underway





kat 7 meerkat prototype
KAT-7(MeerKAT prototype)
  • 7 antennas, L-band (1200-1950 MHz)
  • System engineering process
  • Status
    • Scientific commissioning - publishable results
    • International interest in both the science and engineering

2008 - 2011

  • Dec 2007: XDM set to work
  • KAT7
  • Jan 2008: Project start
  • May 2009: First antenna installed on site
  • Dec 2009: Fringes
  • April 2010: First Image
  • Oct 2010: ESKOM power on site
  • Oct 2010: Cold receiver installation
  • Nov 2010: 10 Mbps link to CT
  • Dec 2011: Engineering completion
paper exploring the first stars galaxies
PAPER - Exploring the First Stars & Galaxies
  • Low frequency array to detect the epoch of re-ionization
  • Relocated to South Africa
  • 64 antennas currently being deployed on site, increasing to 128 in 2012

First map of whole sky using PAPER array in the Karoo and USA. Joint experiment with UC Berkeley, U. Penn. and NRAO

c bass c band all sky survey
C-BASS (C-Band All Sky Survey)
  • Two antennas: one at Owens Valley Observatory in USA and 7.6 m dish at Klerefontein Support Base in Karoo, RSA
  • All sky, total power, linear pol measurement for precise C-band full Stokes map of galaxy
linking africa to the e vn
Linking Africa to the EVN

Need to fill in this gap

multi wavelength

SALT (optical)

MeerKAT / SKA (radio)

HESS (gamma ray)

James Webb (infrared)

FERMI (gamma ray)

s ummary
  • Themajor part of SKA will be built in Africa - excitement!!
  • There is a huge amount of work to do at all levels to realize this….
  • We are committed to completing MeerKAT and proceeding with the science programmes around 2016
  • We are working on the integration of MeerKAT with SKA1_MID and are participating actively in the SKA development
  • Our other programmes remain strong (human capital development, African VLBI network)
  • SKA SA future governance under discussion