SKA and Next Generation Instrumentation

The Square Kilometre Array link to is currently being designed by an international team of scientists and engineers. When finished, the SKA will be the world's largest radio telescope, with a collecting area of one million square meters. The telescope will be co-hosted on two sites, with hundreds of 15-m radio dishes located in Southern Africa and thousands of dipole antennas in Western Australia. This will enable astronomers to observe radio waves at a large frequency range (from 50 MHz to 24 GHz). The SKA headquarters are located on the site of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, with astronomers and engineers from over the world actively involved in the development of the telescope. SKA and Next Generation Instrumentation is one of the research topics of the Pulsars and Time Domain Astrophysics group.

  • Pulsar Astrophysics

    ‌Pulsar astrophysics is one of the key science goals for the SKA, and will provide a great opportunity to study a wide range of scientific phenomena. Using the full SKA to search for pulsars will make it possible to discover all radio pulsars in our Galaxy, including exotic objects such as pulsars orbiting black holes.

    Observations of such systems will not only let us study these extreme objects in detail, but also allow us to test Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. By observing the fastest spinning pulsars in a Pulsar Timing Array, the SKA will greatly aid in the effort to detect nano-Hertz gravitational waves.

    In addition, the accuracy of the fast spinning pulsars is so high that astronomers can use them to produce an astronomical timescale capable of competing with the best atomic clocks in the world. 

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  • SKA Pulsar Group

    The SKA pulsar group at JBCA are working with an international team of researchers to develop hardware and software to be used to search for new pulsars with the SKA. The pulsar search system will receive more than 350 GB of data every second, which adds up to more than 30 petabytes per day. With such a high data rate, it is necessary to analyse all the data in real time, and only save the resulting pulsar candidates in the longer term. The candidates can then be followed up immediately after discovery. This will aid in learning more about the nature of each pulsar, some of which will most definitely enable new exciting astrophysics!

  • MeerKat

    • Time-domain studies with SKA pathfinder array MeerKAT
    • Pulsars and transients with e-MERLIN
    • Phased array feed for Parkes
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