Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and Karoo Array (MEERKAT) Telescopes
The SKA and MeerKAT are radio telescopes that are currently under development in the Kareeberg and Karoo Hoogland Municipal regions near Carnarvon and Williston respectively. These radio telescopes are envisaged to become the most sensitive ever to be built.
What does SKA stand for?
The telescope will on completion consist of up to 3000 dishes and aperture arrays which will have a collective area of 1 square kilometre.
What will these radio telescopes seek to do?
Through the investigations and observations that will be done with these telescopes scientists and engineers will seek to make their contributions to the general body of scientific knowledge. They will be able to pick up signals from astronomy events that have taken place as far back as 14billion years ago, the time of the “Big-Bang”. They envisaged to shed light on the origins of the universe, dark energy, dark matter, the possibility of the existence of life on other planets, etc.
Why the SKA or MeerKAT in the Northern Cape?
The Northern Cape site has been found to be ideal due to its low radio noise, known as radio frequency interference (RFI), low population density .low rainfall and high altitude.