A new astronomy centre, the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, has been established in Perth, Australia, to support and boost Australia’s 21st century radio astronomy research efforts.
Australia is currently building ASKAP, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, which will be a network of 36 radio dish antennae. ASKAP will become one of the world’s foremost astronomy observatories, and for some types of research programs, it will be the best in the world.
As the name suggests, ASKAP is intended to be the forerunner to the Square Kilometre Array, a radio telescope system that will be the world’s largest observatory (in terms of geographical spread). Comprising hundreds of antennae spread over thousands of square kilometres, the total area of all the dishes and other antennae combined will add up to one square kilometre, hence the name.
Australia and southern Africa are vying for the rights to host the facility. A decision is expected sometime within the next couple of years.
Video courtesy of ICRAR.