Mileura station, Western Australia
Australia and South Africa have been short-listed as the countries to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a giant next-generation radio telescope being developed by scientists in 17 countries.
The SKA will be a set of thousands of antennas spread over 3000 kilometres, with half the antennas located in a ‘core’ site of 5 x 5 kilometres. The proposed core site in Australia is Mileura station, 100 km west of Meekathara in Western Australia. Other antennas would be distributed over the continent; still more might be placed in New Zealand.
The Australian site submission was developed by the Australian SKA Planning Office in CSIRO, with the help of the WA Government and consulting firm Connell Wagner.
A key requirement of the core site is very low levels of man-made radio signals, which could mask the faint cosmic radio waves the telescope is designed to detect. Both the Australian and South African sites can see much of the same sky as the world’s other major telescopes. Both have a good view of the southern sky, which is where the centre of our Galaxy goes overhead. And both have stable ionospheric conditions, important for low-frequency observations. The final siting decision is expected by 2010.
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