The Square Kilometer Array Preliminary Strawman Design

Executive Summary


The scientific issues facing the next generation of radio telescopes require not only a large increase in physical collecting area, but also a high degree of versatility in using large instantaneous bandwidths for continuum, spectral line, and time-domain applications.   The important scientific forefront to be addressed with such an instrument includes mapping  the epoch of reionization;  characterizing the transient radio sky;  surveying H I and CO at high redshifts; probing AGNs over a wide range of luminosities; understanding star formation, stellar populations, and perhaps intelligent life in the Milky Way; and tracking near-Earth objects that are potential hazards to life on Earth. The range of objects to be studied demands sensitivity to a wide range of source sizes, from compact objects on milliarcsecond scales to low surface brightness emission on scales of arcminutes and larger.  To exploit this high sensitivity, large dynamic range and image fidelity are needed for imaging applications while beam-forming over a large field of view  (FOV) and the ability to probe signals with a high degree of time-frequency complexity are needed for transient source applications as well as discriminating celestial signals from radio frequency interference.

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International Travel Grants

IAU Meeting Summary. Provided by the Royal Astronomical Society.

Decisions have now been made for the first round of the ITG program. Individuals who applied for travel funding to meetings other than the IAU General Assembly have been contacted by phone (for meetings in April or early May) or will soon receive a check in the mail. Please sign and return the form enclosed with your award letter as quickly as possible. Everyone who applied for travel funding has been awarded the amount requested for airfare.

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Progress in astronomy has always depended on forefront instruments with greater resolving power and sensitivity to reach farther into the universe, and to detect new kinds of objects with unexpected properties. The radio telescopes of the past decades have explored the electromagnetic spectrum far from the traditional optical wavelengths, and have achieved a striking series of discoveries such as pulsars, quasars, gravitational lenses, radio galaxies, and the cosmic microwave background. These have, in turn, proven to be fruitful sources of knowledge about gravitation, nuclear matter, the interstellar medium, high energy phenomena, and have contributed significantly to cosmology.

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The Square Kilometer Array (SKA)

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) is a unique radio telescope being planned by an international consortium. Covering frequencies of 0.15-20 GHz or higher, the SKA will make a revolutionary break from today’s radio telescopes. It will have a collecting area of one square kilometer, making it 100 times more sensitive than today’s best radio telescopes.

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Consortium of Universities and Astronomy-related organizations