Expanding Horizons for Radio Astronomy: the SKA Observatory in Australia

NSW Division

Event details

Wednesday 15 September 2021
SKA Observatory

IMAGE: The Aperture Array Verification System 2.0 (AAVS2.0), a demonstrator for SKA-Low at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Obervatory in Western Australia. The full station uses 256 SKALA4.1-AL prototype antennas realised by INAF with the Italian industrial partner Sirio Antenne, a design that has successfully passed the SKA System Critical Design Review (CDR). (Credit: Michale Goh/ICRAR-Curtin)


Wednesday 15 September

6.20–7.00pm AEST

ATSE NSW Division presents Expanding Horizons for Radio Astronomy: the SKA Observatory in Australia

The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) will build the next generation of radio telescopes, transforming our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics. A collaboration of 15 countries, SKAO will be one observatory with two telescopes: SKA-Low in Western Australia and SKA-Mid in South Africa. After decades of planning and development, SKAO will start construction of both telescopes in early 2022.

In Western Australia, SKA-Low will comprise up to 131,072 antennas with a frequency range of 50-350MHz. The antennas will be deployed in clusters along spiral arms spanning 65 km of CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. SKA will be the first time Australia has hosted a mega-science facility on behalf of the international community. In this talk, Sarah will explore the science case for SKA, the technologies needed to deliver this next step for radio astronomy, and the opportunities that it brings to Australia.

This presentation follows the ATSE NSW Division Annual Meeting: 5.00-6.15pm AEST

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Dr Sarah Pearce FTSE Director of the SKA-Low Telescope in Australia



Dr Sarah Pearce

Director of the SKA-Low Telescope in Australia

Dr. Sarah Pearce is Director of the SKA-Low Telescope, soon to be built in Western Australia. Before her role with SKA, Sarah was Deputy Director of Space & Astronomy at CSIRO, where she established the CSIRO space program. She also spent six months in early 2021 as CSIRO’s Acting Chief Scientist. Sarah’s previous roles include providing science advice to the UK Parliament and managing large-scale computing for particle physics. She has a PhD from the University of Leicester and an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Oxford. In 2020, Dr Pearce was named NSW Business Woman of the Year, and Executive of the Year at the Australian Space Awards. She was elected as a Fellow of ATSE in the same year.