SKA is a big science project for SA

2012-04-02 14:40
A model of the revised MeerKAT dish which is closely aligned to the SKA requirements is seen at the project office in Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

A model of the revised MeerKAT dish which is closely aligned to the SKA requirements is seen at the project office in Cape Town. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a project on the scale of the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator on the French and Swiss border in Europe.

"It's important to understand what the Square Kilometre Array project really means. It's at the present time, the world's largest science project," Dr Bernie Fanaroff, director of SKA South Africa told News24.

"When it is built it will be on the scale of the particle accelerator at Cern [European Council for Nuclear Research]. The SKA is on that sort of scale, if not bigger."

SA is bidding against Australia to host the project which will see over 3 000 linked radio telescopes being built. SA has already built the KAT 7 (Karoo Array Telescope) which consists of seven dishes as a precursor to the MeerKAT which will consist of 64 dishes in the Northern Cape province.

The first KAT 7 radio telescope was installed in July 2009, beating the Australians by about six months in producing their demonstration Askap (Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder) instrument.

Team capacity

"Having it on the African continent is going to be a very dramatic statement about what we can do in Africa," Fanaroff said.

The SKA SA team has agreements with technology companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Intel to solve several technical problems to ensuring that the collected data from the instrument is processed, but not contaminated.

"Cisco and Google are also talking to us and this is a recognition of the fact that all of a sudden, people are realising that in South Africa in particular and Africa in general, we have outstanding technical capacity," said Fanaroff.

He acknowledged the capacity of the South African team that compiled the information for the bid.

"One of the big advantages we had is that we have such an excellent team in this country: The team that put together our bid I think consists of the most outstanding young people in science and engineering anywhere in the world.

"The sheer volume is what that team put together is mind boggling: We sent 27 000 pages of evidence, designs and information as put of our bid. That was a lot of work."

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    ska  |  astronomy

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.