‘Are we alone in the universe?’: Work begins on most powerful radio telescope | World News - Hindustan Times
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‘Are we alone in the universe?’: Work begins on most powerful radio telescope

Dec 05, 2022 03:42 PM IST

Square Kilometre Array: Square Kilometre Array will also be used to investigate dark energy and why the universe is expanding.

Construction of the world’s largest radio astronomy observatory, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), has begun in Australia after three decades in development. The intergovernmental effort has been hailed as one of the biggest scientific projects of this century. The project will enable scientists to look back to early in the history of the universe when the first stars and galaxies were formed.

Square Kilometre Array: An artist's impression of low-frequency stations forming the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope.(AFP)
Square Kilometre Array: An artist's impression of low-frequency stations forming the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope.(AFP)

Square Kilometre Array will also be used to investigate dark energy and why the universe is expanding and to potentially search for extraterrestrial life. The Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, which is run by CSIRO and is located in Murchison, Western Australia will be home to the SKA radio telescope.

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The project will initially involve two telescope arrays – one on Wajarri country in remote Western Australia, called SKA-Low, comprising 131,072 tree-like antennas.

Dr Sarah Pearce, SKA-Low’s director, said the observatory would “define the next fifty years for radio astronomy, charting the birth and death of galaxies, searching for new types of gravitational waves and expanding the boundaries of what we know about the universe”.

“The SKA telescopes will be sensitive enough to detect an airport radar on a planet circling a star tens of light years away, so may even answer the biggest question of all: are we alone in the universe?," she added.

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