SA unveils MeerKAT technology, broadband

2014-03-27 13:13
An impression of what the final design will look like. (Picture provided)

An impression of what the final design will look like. (Picture provided)

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


KAT 7 operation

2012-10-15 08:31

MeerKAT project manager Willem Esterhuyse chats about the operation of the KAT 7 in the Northern Cape in this YouTube video.WATCH

Cape Town - Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom on Thursday officially launched the first telescope that will make up the MeerKAT instrument in the Northern Cape province.

The MeerKAT (Karoo Array Telescope) is part of a massive science project underway the town of Carnarvon in the province that seeks to find answers to the early mysteries of the universe.

"The launch of the first MeerKAT antenna signifies South Africa's ardent commitment to the MeerKAT project and the broader SKA project. It further typifies the excellent engineering and technical capabilities in South Africa that have enabled us to deliver a project of this magnitude within projected timeframes and budget allocations," said Hanekom.

The MeerKAT was intended as a pathfinder for the massive SKA or Square Kilometre Array that will be built in both SA and Australia.

However, because the instrument uses the technology of radio interferometry which allows a more accurate picture of the heavens, giving astronomers a clearer view of distant celestial objects.

Underground building

The MeerKAT will consist of 64 linked radio telescopes when it is completed in 2016 and generate massive amounts of data.

"Once up and running, the MeerKAT will generate enough data from the antennas to fill about four and a half million standard 4.7 GB DVDs in a day," said Dr Jasper Horrell, general manager for science computing and innovation at SKA SA.

To accommodate for the management of such amounts of data and the expected exponential increase when the SKA goes online, a Karoo Array Processor Building was also unveiled on Thursday.

The building which is built underground, will receive signals from the telescopes via 170km of cable and controlled from Cape Town.

The Karoo Array Processor Building known as the KAPB, is built 5m underground to ensure that the electronics do not interfere with the radio telescopes which could render the data useless.

The MeerKAT dishes are themselves massive structures, standing over 19m tall and weighing in at 42 tons. The project is South African led, with 75% of the components being developed and built in the country.

Each MeerKAT will generate the equivalent of data on a DVD per second when the instrument is up and running and will be sensitive enough to be able to pick up cellphone signal from Saturn.

Check out this YouTube video of how the KAT-7 radio dishes are controlled from Cape Town:

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
- News24
Read more on:    kimberley  |  astronomy  |  ska  |  good news

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

Traffic & Train Alerts
Table View 18:39 PM
Road name: Marine Drive Northbound

HEAVY DELAYS between the N1 Highway and Table View

Stellenbosch 18:01 PM
Road name: R304 Northbound

DELAYS towards Bottelary Road

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

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid 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


Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge 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.