Workshop takes a team approach towards the SKA1 in Western Australia

A group of people in the foyer of a building.

SKA Australia logo.

22 October 2015

CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) today welcomed over 60 attendees to a seminar to discuss the engineering, science planning, and governance activities that will underpin the delivery of SKA1 – the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array – in Western Australia.

The aim of Towards the SKA1 in Western Australia was to showcase activities and planning underway for the international telescope mega-project – from National, State, regional and institutional perspectives.

Broad interest in the workshop saw over 60 representatives from scientists, engineers, project teams, agency officials, partners from industry, and groups from the Mid-West region – all keen to hear about the preparation underway to build the world’s largest radio telescope in their backyard.

The day started with a brief overview of the engineering, infrastructure and operations challenges being faced in the development of SKA1. Then, presenters discussed the planning activities underway for the exciting scientific possibilities the telescope will offer, as well as the great achievements already made by science teams using the SKA pathfinders in Australia (ASKAP and the MWA).

The audience then heard from representatives of the Australian SKA Office and the WA Government Office of Science, before finishing the day with an ‘open floor’ plenary session. This offered a chance to discuss the future of the SKA in Australia with project executives Phil Diamond, Alistair McPherson, and Gary Davis via video-link from the SKA Office headquarters in the UK.

“We’re not here for problem solving or decision making,” noted Phil Crosby, CASS Assistant Director (WA), at the start of the day.

“We’re here as Team Australia to consider the ‘story so far’, and discuss what SKA1 in Australia will look like, mean and deliver to the astronomical community. The value of this meeting is not only the talks you’ll hear in the auditorium today, but the discussions that these talks might generate during the breaks, and after the meeting is over.”

More information about SKA1 developments in Australia is available on the Australian SKA website.

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