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The Greatest Show on Earth

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an international project involving 10+ countries to build the ultimate radio telescope. Its name stems from the fact that the total collecting area, divided into thousands of dishes to be deployed in Southern Africa and Western Australia, will eventually be roughly equivalent to a filled square of 1 kilometre in side.

South Africa and Australia are currently busy completing MeerKAT and ASKAP, known as SKA precursors, which are both intended to test some of the technologies required for the SKA and to address some of the science questions to be tackled by the SKA. The SKA project itself will then be realized in two phases, with Phase 1 and Phase 2 construction to be completed by 2020 and 2030 respectively, and work is currently ongoing in completing the Phase 1 instrument design.

This week, more than 250 scientists, including yours truly, have thus gathered for the SKA 2014 Science Conference in Giardini Naxos, close to Taormina in Sicily, Italy, whose aim is to discuss the several science areas which the SKA is more likely to contribute to. With 100+ science talks on the schedule it sure looks like it’s going to be a busy and fun week, which the twitter-inclined can follow through the project tweets  and/or the live tweets from the conference.

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