This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to our use of cookies. To find out more, see our Privacy and Cookies policy.
Skip to the content

Share this

Free weekly newswire

Sign up to receive all our latest news direct to your inbox.

Physics on film

100 Second Science Your scientific questions answered simply by specialists in less than 100 seconds.

Watch now

Bright Recruits

At all stages of your career – whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, researcher or industry professional – can help find the job for you.

Find your perfect job

Physics connect

Are you looking for a supplier? Physics Connect lists thousands of scientific companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and experts worldwide.

Start your search today


A waiting game

By Michael Banks

Square Kilometre Array

Artist’s impression of the proposed Square Kilometre Array site in Austrialia (Courtesy: Swinburne Astronomy Productions)

I was rather hoping for more when I opened a press release from the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) organization this morning.

SKA, costing €1.5bn, is a proposed ground-based telescope that will allow researchers to probe the first 100 million years after the Big Bang for clues about galaxy evolution, dark matter and dark energy.

SKA will consist of around 2000–3000 linked antennas spread from a central 5 km “core” containing about 50% of the collecting area out to far-flung stations as much as 3000 km away. The telescope will then have the same collecting area as a hypothetical steerable dish 1 km across.

Two rival bids are going head to head to host the telescope: one led by Australia and the other by South Africa. The Australian design calls for a core in the west of the continent, with out-stations stretching eastwards to New Zealand. The South African project relies on a core in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape province, with the array extending northwards to eight neighbouring countries, including Madagascar and Kenya.

A decision on where to site SKA was widely expected to be made in February, and now the independent SKA site advisory committee has just submitted its evaluation report and site-selection recommendation to SKA’s board of directors.

Unfortunately for us mere mortals, we will not know the contents of the report until a later date. The press release gave no hint of who may host SKA, only saying that the seven members of SKA organization – which includes China, Italy and the UK – will now have a “face to face” meeting in “late March or early April” to consider the report’s conclusions and possibly make a decision about the location of the site.

If no consensus is reached at that meeting, then the members will “agree on the next steps in the process”. This one may drag on for some time to come.

This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.
View all posts by this author  | View this author's profile

Comments are closed.


  • Comments should be relevant to the article and not be used to promote your own work, products or services.
  • Please keep your comments brief (we recommend a maximum of 250 words).
  • We reserve the right to remove excessively long, inappropriate or offensive entries.

Show/hide formatting guidelines

Tag Description Example Output
<a> Hyperlink <a href="">google</a> google
<abbr> Abbreviation <abbr title="World Health Organisation" >WHO</abbr> WHO
<acronym> Acronym <acronym title="as soon as possible">ASAP</acronym> ASAP
<b> Bold <b>Some text</b> Some text
<blockquote> Quoted from another source <blockquote cite="">IOP</blockquote>
<cite> Cite <cite>Diagram 1</cite> Diagram 1
<del> Deleted text From this line<del datetime="2012-12-17"> this text was deleted</del> From this line this text was deleted
<em> Emphasized text In this line<em> this text was emphasised</em> In this line this text was emphasised
<i> Italic <i>Some text</i> Some text
<q> Quotation WWF goal is to build a future <q cite="">
where people live in harmony with nature and animals</q>
WWF goal is to build a future
where people live in harmony with nature and animals
<strike> Strike text <strike>Some text</strike> Some text
<strong> Stronger emphasis of text <strong>Some text</strong> Some text