Cold radio receivers fitted to SKA

2011-08-24 22:20

Johannesburg - Cold radio receivers have been fitted to seven satellite dishes in the Karoo Astronomy Reserve, the Square Kilometre Array SA team said on Wednesday.

The dishes test technology to be used in the MeerKAT project, which is under construction in the Northern Cape.

"The installation of the receivers would allow the KAT-7 telescope to see much fainter objects than it would if the receivers and 'feeds' operated at room temperature and were not cooled," MeerKAT project manager Willem Esterhuyse said in a statement.

The receivers were cooled to -203°C, which eliminated much of the "noise" interference associated with radio receivers, he said.

This greater sensitivity reduced observation time, improving the quality of images.

SKA is an international radio telescope project for astronomy observation that will either be built in South Africa or Australia.

When completed in 2024, SKA will be 50 times more sensitive than any other radio instrument.

The decision on whether it will be built in South Africa is expected in 2012.

- SAPA
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