The first phase to build the world’s largest radio telescope has just been finished in Beijing, China. The project SKA, or Square Kilometer Array, is designed for an in-depth analysis of the universe. The radio telescope will have a very broad collecting range and would work under a wide range of frequencies. It will also be much more sensitive (as much as 50 times) than any other existing radio telescopes.
With unmatched sensitivity and high speed surveying, the radio telescope project will enable the analysis of neutral hydrogen in many galaxies. It will also enable the detection of new pulsars, both galactic as well as extra-galactic. It is also expected to help in the search for the first shining stars, and perhaps the search for extraterrestrial life as well. It is believed that when complete, it will be able to detect transmissions from as far as over a 1,000 light years. Altogether, the telescope arrays are designed to inspect and map the sky with unmatched detail and speed. With such advanced features that are beyond imagination, it aims to improve the understanding of the universe as we know it today and the laws of fundamental physics.
The project is supported by 11 countries across the globe including Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The construction is expected to start in 2018, with first observations in 2020, as quoted by the CAS National Astronomical Observatories.