South Africa Launched 64-Dish Huge Radio Telescope- MeerKAT

MeerKAT captures centre of the Milky Way

The 64-dish MeerKAT telescope in the Northern Cape is a precursor to the larger worldwide Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and is managed by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO).

The biggest radio telescope of its kind in the southern hemisphere, MeerKAT looks like a cluster of eggs when you first see it about an hour's drive outside Carnarvon.

Sixty-four dishes in the MEERkat array scattered over eight kilometers in South Africa's Northern Cape Province - where signal interference is minimal - were inaugurated today.

"However, infrared, X-ray, and, in particular, radio wavelengths penetrate the obscuring dust and open a window into this distinctive region" and its black hole, the statement said.

The telescope is called the MeerKAT radio telescope, and it's actually made up of 64 individual dishes, all of which detect radio waves.

They also are releasing an image described as the "clearest view yet" of the centre of our galaxy. These include some features that could provide a basis for unlocking the mystery of the filaments, says Yusef-Zadeh, who is affiliated with Northwestern University in IL.

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Yusef-Zadeh adds that 'MeerKAT now provides an unsurpassed view of this unique region of our galaxy.

"As we make progress with the South African part and move into the SKA 1, the other eight African countries come as co-part of the initiative".

MeerKAT is next to KAT 7 (Karoo Array Telescope), built in the vast semi-desert Karoo region north of Cape Town to demonstrate South Africa's ability to host the SKA.

He said the Meerkat telescope coming into stream begins actual work for the SKA project as Ghana's observatory has began more observations and analysis of data generated with the aim to characterise the system and improve its accuracy.

MeerKAT's capabilities are unique in a number of aspects, including the fact that it collects information using radio waves. MeerKAT consists of 64 antennas (or dishes), each 13.5 meters in diameter, located on baselines (distances between antenna pairs) of up to 8 km. The first installed set of receivers operates between frequencies of 900 MHz and 1670 MHz.

Expected to be fully up and running by 2030, the SKA will comprise a forest of 3,000 dishes spread over an area of a square kilometre (0.4 square miles) across remote terrain in several African countries and Australia to allow astronomers to peer deeper into space with unparallelled detail.

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