Astronomy in Africa- News and Updates

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

  • The current news dominating conversations in astronomy across Africa is the recommendation for South Africa to host the Square Kilometre Array over Australia. The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, addressing a wide range of fundamental questions in physics, astrophysics, cosmology and astrobiology. It will comprise thousands of radio wave receptors (antennas) and will extend out to distances of 3,000 km from a central core region. The recommendation, made by the SKA Site Advisory Committee, is not yet final- meetings will be held this week to write comments to support the recommendation, which will inform the final decision of where SKA will be located.
  • The European Parliament has recently called for greater collaboration with Africa in the field of radio astronomy. The southern African sky has the advantage of low levels of radio frequency interference, and very little light pollution. Judith Sargentini, a Vice-Chair for Delegation for relations with South Africa: “In adopting this Written Declaration, Europe’s elected representatives have sent a strong message to their fellow policymakers about the future of European cooperation with Africa. They have recognised that radio astronomy has a bright future in Africa and that Europe can play a valuable role in it.”
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