Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory
ASKAP is located in the Mid West region of Western Australia at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), approximately 315km northeast of Geraldton.
The MRO is ideal for radio astronomy as it exhibits excellent sky coverage, superb radio quietness, ionospheric stability and benign tropospheric conditions. The extremely low levels of radio-frequency interference will allow highly sensitive instruments such as ASKAP to conduct ground-breaking astronomy research.
In addition to ASKAP, two other experiments are currently located at the MRO: the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) and Experiment to Detect the Global Epoch of Reionization Signature (EDGES).
The MRO will also be the future site of the Australian infrastructure for the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project. The telescope is being co-hosted by Australia and South Africa.
We acknowledge the Wajarri Yamatji people as the traditional owners of the MRO site.
Australian Radio-Quiet Zone WA (ARQZWA)
The Australian Radio Quiet Zone WA (ARQZWA), originally called the Mid West Radio Quiet Zone, was established by the Australian and Western Australian Governments to protect radio astronomy receivers from harmful interference, while allowing for opportunities for coexistence with other activities.
The ARQZWA is centred on the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), is protected by the legislation, regulatory and policy instruments put in place by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and three protected zones managed by the Department of Mines and Petroleum in the WA government.
CSIRO, as the MRO entity, manages the MRO, which is the home of ASKAP and the MWA. CSIRO also manages the Boolardy Pastoral Station, which is the future site of one component of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
CSIRO’s role encompasses a broad range of duties, including land, infrastructure and telescope management; further information is available here regarding CSIRO's role in the RQZ.
Powering the MRO
In June 2010, the Federal Government announced that CSIRO will receive $47.3 million for the development of solar and geothermal energy technologies to power the MRO and its associated computing facility, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre.
In July 2015, CSIRO appointed EMC Solar Construction to engineer, procure and construct a 1.6 MW Solar Power Station at the MRO. The power station will comprise of more than 6,000 solar panels and a specially-designed inverter room that will be carefully shielded in order to preserve the uniquely radio quiet environment of the MRO.
Supporting the MRO
CSIRO staff that support the development and operation of the MRO are based at the Murchison Support Facility in Geraldton, 370km to the southwest of MRO.
See the Visitors Guide to the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory for further information on visiting the MRO.
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