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Curtin astronomers one step closer to WA SKA

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Artist's impression of the SKA dishes.

Artist's impression of the SKA dishes. Credit: SPDO/TDP/DRAO/Swinburne Astronomy Productions.

Artist's impression of the SKA dishes.
Artist's impression of the SKA dishes. Credit: SPDO/TDP/DRAO/Swinburne Astronomy Productions.

Australia and New Zealand are one step closer to making astronomy history by completing their written bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Western Australia.

Should the bid be successful, the SKA would place Curtin researchers at the forefront of the radio astronomy field.

Curtin is a joint venture partner (along with UWA) in the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). ICRAR is one of 47 agencies across Australia and New Zealand collaborating in the proposal.

The SKA is the most ambitious science project ever undertaken, involving 20 countries to create the world’s most powerful radio telescope. It is hoped the SKA will enable scientists to delve deeper into questions about the origins of the universe.

The Australia/New Zealand bid is shortlisted alongside southern Africa to host the SKA. But Federal Minister for Innovation, Senator Kim Carr believes the Australia and New Zealand bid has the upper hand.

“We have a remote site based in Western Australia with exceptional radio quiet characteristics and superb astronomy infrastructure. And, thanks to the National Broadband Network, Australia is rolling out the necessary fibre-optic links to allow SKA signals to be processed and transmitted,” said Senator Carr.

The shortlisted groups will make their formal presentations in Washington this December. A decision is expected to be made by early 2012 with the SKA being built and operational by 2020.

Further information on Curtin Univeristy’s involvement in the SKA can be found on the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA) and ICRAR websites.

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