Significance of World’s Largest Radio Telescope Square Kilometer Array

In this article, we will see the Significance of World’s Largest Radio Telescope Square Kilometer Array. SKA is the world’s largest radio telescope ever built in the history of mankind. It will be located in the parts of continent of Africa and Australia which will be constructed, monitored and maintained by an International Organization called SKAO. The facility to be constructed in two phases, currently scheduled for completion in the year 2024.

What is Telescope

A telescope is an instrument consisting of array of lenses to view the distant objects which otherwise is not visible through naked eye. It can either use Lens or mirrors to create an image of distant objects. Optical telescope is the most popular telescope used around the world.

What is Radio Telescope

Radio telescope is a type of telescope which is used to detect the radio waves emitted by the distant objects across the Universe. The first radio telescope as we know was a 9-meter parabolic dish constructed by radio amateur Grote Reber in his back yard in Wheaton, Illinois in 1937.

What is SKAO(Square Kilometer Array Observatory)

It is a new Governmental Organization dedicated to radio astronomy and is currently headquartered in UK. Currently there are 14 countries in this Organization – Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK. It is not for profit organization currently have their headquarters at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester in the United Kingdom.

Significance of World's Largest Radio Telescope Square Kilometer Array

World’s Largest Radio Telescope Square Kilometer Array

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The Square Kilometer Array is an international effort to build world’s largest radio telescope with a collecting of around one square kilometer. SKA uses thousands of dishes and about a million of low frequency antennas which provides an unprecedented capabilities to astronomers to map the vast areas of Sky. The completion of telescope is expected to take around 10 years at a cost of over 1.8 billion euros. More on SKA Project.

Why to Use Radio Telescopes

Radio Telescopes are different from Optical Telescopes in a way that it can detect Invisible gas present across the Universe which is currently obscured by Cosmic Dust. Optical Telescope collects visible light and brings it to focus to visualize distant objects. Radio telescopes works on much longer wavelength than the visible light spectrum.

How It is Better than Hubble Space Telescope 

The mapping area which SKA provides will be unprecedently large outmatching the capabilities of Hubble Space Telescope. To be more accurate, SKA will be 50 times more sensitive and 10,000 times faster than the best radio telescopes we have available till date.

Revolution in Building Large Telescopes

SKA undoubtedly revolutionize the Era in building larger and larger telescopes to map the vast areas of Sky. It will unlock the secrets of Universe and will encourage more and more countries to join this Scientific Effort. In the continuous process of building large telescopes previously we had Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico which was the second largest single dish telescope in the world, soon got collapsed in the month of December 2020.

Contribution of India

While other countries are doing its part, India is also playing a huge role in this Scientific Research and Experimental Effort. Currently National Centre for Radio Astrophysics of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research(TIFR) leading the effort in a joint collaboration with over 20 Institutes and Organization across the nation. Indian team has taken the lead to conceptualize the automated monitoring and control system needed to operate the telescope in first phase.

Goals of SKA Telescope

Scientists are hoping to find answers for some of the highly discussed questions which includes:-

  • Revealing the truth of Einstein theory about Time, Space and Gravity.
  • Beginning of Universe
  • Origin of Gravitational Waves
  • Evolution and Life Cycle of Galaxy
  • Universe Expansion Theory and so on.

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