A new intergovernmental organisation, including the UK, was launched this week signalling a new era for global radio astronomy.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory, known as SKAO, is the world’s second intergovernmental organisation to be dedicated to astronomy.
The SKAO headquarters is based in the UK on the grounds of the Jodrell Bank UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was co-funded by the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), through the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
The UK government, through STFC, has committed at least £100million to the construction of the SKA and the SKA headquarters.
UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:
Dr. Catherine Cesarsky, appointed first Chair of the SKAO Council added,
The SKAO, will be responsible for overseeing the construction and operation of the largest and most complex radio telescope networks ever built in a bid to address fundamental questions about our Universe.
SKAO’s telescopes will be based in South Africa and Australia. The South African telescope will be composed of mid-frequency, 15 metre-diameter dishes, while the telescope in Australia will be composed of low-frequency, two-metre-tall antennas.
The creation of SKAO follows a decade of detailed engineering design work supported by more than 500 engineers, over 1,000 scientists and dozens of policy-makers in more than 20 countries.
Professor Philip Diamond, appointed first Director-General of SKAO said,
Source: UK Research and Innovation.
Launched in April 2018, UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). They bring together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England, which is responsible for supporting research and knowledge exchange at higher education institutions in England, and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. For more details go to: https://www.ukri.org/