Square Kilometre Array Overview

In the 20th century, we discovered our place in the Universe. Our telescopes have revealed an expanding Universe with billions of galaxies, each filled with stars of all sizes and temperatures, along with black holes, neutron stars, planets, and gas clouds.

In the 21st century, we now seek to understand the complete evolution of our Universe and its constituents. To attack these fundamental questions, a new generation of astronomical facilities is needed with a revolutionary new radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array, playing a crucial role. Recent, innovative technological developments in both computing and radio frequency devices have made it possible and affordable for the SKA to be built by 2024.

With an unprecedented large radiowave collecting area, the SKA will be 50 times more sensitive, and be able to survey the sky 10,000 times faster, than any imaging radio telescope array previously built. By observing a large volume of the Universe, over much of cosmic time, the SKA will answer many of the fundamental questions we are asking now, and many more that we do not yet know to ask.



New Page on the Signal and Data Transport section of the SKA Design

The data and timing network within the SKA provides one of the largest challenges within the design of the telescope to achieve the required data bandwidth at minimal cost.

See SADT Page for further information and presentations.

Germany Joins SKA Consortium

Ten countries now involved in the pre-construction phase of the world's largest telescope.

See article for details.

Signal and Data Transport Consortium Formation Event

The first event of 2013 will be held in the Alan Turing Building, University of Manchester on 25th January. It will allow organisations to learn more about the Consortium being formed by University of Manchester to cover the "Signal and Data Transport" and "Sync and Timing" sections of the design.

See event details.

The SKA - A revolution in Astronomy

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a global project creating a revolutionary radio telescope that will drive developments in data communications and data processing technologies for years to come. The Electronics Knowledge Centre is providing a focus for the UK industries relevant to the project and is building an active and powerful industry cluster.

Square Kilometre Array Telescope - What and Why?

Comprising thousands of receptors linked together across an area the size of a continent. The SKA will be an aperture synthesis instrument. Signals from separated antennas will be combined digitally to produce a telescope with a diameter equal to the largest antenna separation - more than 3000 km. This will give an extremely high angular resolution, so that the SKA will continue radio astronomy's tradition to produce the sharpest pictures of the sky.

The SKA will also have a very large field-of-view (FOV). The goal is an FOV at low frequencies below 1 GHz of 200 square degrees, and an FOV of more than 1 square degree (about 5 full moons) at higher frequencies.

One exciting development being undertaken is the use of phased-array technology to provide multiple FOVs. This will dramatically increase the survey speed of the SKA or enable multiple users to observe different pieces of the sky simultaneously. The goal of achieving a large sky coverage with multiple FOVs is also a major driver of the challenging signal processing and computing specifications for the SKA.

The combination of a very large FOV with enormous sensitivity and diverse operation modes means that the SKA will provide a revolution in the way that we explore the Universe.

COST Report

COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level. It  is one of the longest-running European instruments supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe.

At the start of 2010 they selected the SKA as a project for a study in "Benefits of Research Infrastructures beyond Science". Using a team of over 70 experts from around the world  this work was summarised in a report: Cost Report - highlighting the benefits that SKA was delivering in 6 key areas: ICT, real-time systems, communications, renewable energy, human capital and global collaborations.

Their overall conclusions was:
When decisions on large scale research infrastructures are being made, aspects beyond the respective excellent scientific cases need to be considered. These aspects should include topics like the use of sustainable energy sources, the development and building of human capacities, new communication strategies and technologies and, finally, that the project would generate incentives to enhance global and transcultural collaboration in communicating the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of mankind.

and the findings were that SKA delivered excellent results in each of these areas.

For further information see the COST page on this site for more details.

UK Activity on SKA

The UK Project work on the SKA is managed by teams at the universities of Cambridge, Manchester and Oxford - the leading centres of Radio Astronomy in the UK and funded by STFC.

The ESP Community, and the previous Electronics KTN, have been active in promoting the benefits and opportunites from development of the SKA for UK industry.  We have run events on various aspects of the SKA - see the Past Events page.

The UK holds a number of unique positions in the project:
     The UK was the founding partner for the project, over 10 years ago
     The UK chairs the committees responsible for funding
     The UK provides the facilities for the SPO - at Manchester University

Full information on the design, industry engagement and the major players in the project can be found in the "Our-subgroup" pages on this site.

To navigate quickly to any page on this site use the (experimental) NAVIGATION page.

For further information and to express your interest in being part of SKA please email: nigel.rix@ktn-uk.org

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This is being organised by University of Manchester and will cover two parts of the WBS (SKA.TEL.SADT and SKA.TEL.SAT).  There will be an event on the 8th January for organisations who are spe...

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Upcoming events

Fri 25 Jan 2013

Big Data needs Big Pipes: Opportunities and Challenges of data flow within

10:00 until 16:00

Event Overview The Square Kilometre Array project will present major challenges for both...

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Thu 20 Mar 2014

Big Science Roadshow - Bristol

09:30 until 17:00

Register now to secure your place! UKTI and partner organisations are travelling across England...

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Tue 18 Mar 2014

Big Science Roadshow - Daresbury

09:30 until 17:00

Register now to secure your place! UKTI and partner organisations are travelling across England...

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