Far outback in Western Australia, at the Murchison Radio Astronomy Observatory located on Boolardy Station, 315 km north-east of Geraldton, 32 tiles each carrying 16 dipole antennas have begun to collect scientific data on the Sun. At the same time they are providing engineering information to be used to extend the facility to a much bigger array of 512 tiles – the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA).
Western Australia’s International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) is only three months old but is rapidly expanding—much like the early Universe. ICRAR’s scientists have ambitious projects ahead contributing to global science and engineering through the SKA.
Imagine a telescope so revolutionary that in one week it will gather more information than that contained in all the words spoken in human history.
The Square Kilometre Array, or SKA, will be the world’s most powerful radio telescope and will dramatically increase mankind’s understanding of the universe.
CSIRO’s Dr John O’Sullivan, winner of the 2009 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, is now working on the next generation of radio telescopes.
John’s latest efforts are directed towards the development of an innovative radio camera or ‘phased array feed’ with a uniquely wide field-of-view for the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope.