Known as SKA, the original name of this radio telescope is the Square Kilometer Array. Its construction work is expected to be completed by 2028. The SKA is based at the University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England.
One of SKA’s great quests is to trace the entire history of hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe.
Commenting on this, Prof Phil Diamond, Director General of the Square Kilometer Array Organization said, “This historic moment is the culmination of 30 years of work and dreams.” He stated this in an interview with BBC. He says that out of the past 30 years, the first 10 years were spent on concept development, the next 10 years on technology development and the last 10 years on detailed design of the project, locating sites and getting consent from countries.
The initial construction of the telescope included less than 200 parabolic antennas, as well as 131,000 dipole antennas shaped like Christmas trees. The system will operate in the frequency range of approximately 50 MHz to 25 GHz. The team says it will enable the telescope to detect even weak radio signals coming from cosmic sources billions of light-years away from Earth, including signals emitted in the first hundred million years after the Big Bang.
The current seven countries cooperating in this regard are South Africa, Australia, UK, China, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland. Reports are coming in that France, Spain and Germany will soon join this great project. Canada, India, Sweden, South Korea and Japan will soon join the project