ASKAP Frequently Asked Questions

A view from the reflector dish of one of CSIRO's new ASKAP antennas at the MRO, October 2010. Credit: Simon Johnston, CSIRO.

Quickly find out more about ASKAP with answers to these 'frequently asked questions':

What does ASKAP look like?
ASKAP is a next-generation radio telescope incorporating novel receiver technologies and leading-edge computing systems. It is made up of 36 identical antennas, each 12 metres in diameter, that work together as a single instrument or interferometer. Read more.

Why build ASKAP?
ASKAP captures radio images with unprecedented sensitivity over large areas of sky. This combination of survey speed and sensitivity will allow astronomers to answer some fundamental questions about the creation and early evolution of our Universe, and to test theories of cosmic magnetism and predictions from Einstein's theory of general relativity. Read more.

Where is ASKAP located?
The CSIRO-run Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in the Mid West region of Western Australia is home to ASKAP. This region has been identified as ideal for a new radio observatory with a small population and a lack of human-made radio signals that would interfere with weak astronomical radio signals. Read more.

When was ASKAP built?
The mechanical build of ASKAP antennas was completed in 2012, with installation of all the digital signal processing hardware then following. Six antennas were outfitted with Mark I Phased Array Feeds (PAFs) in 2014 to form BETA (the Boolary Engineering Test Array). The first of the enhanced Mark II PAFs was installed in the same year, with all 36 antennas outfitted with the new PAFs by 2019. Scientific observations began with BETA, and early science observations continued as antennas were progressively outfitted with Mark II PAFs.  Read more.

Who will use ASKAP?
ASKAP forms part of CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility along with existing telescopes at Parkes, Narrabri and Mopra. ASKAP will be used by astronomers from around the world. Read more.

How is ASKAP related to the SKA?
In addition to being a world-leading telescope in its own right, ASKAP is an important technology demonstrator for the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope. ASKAP's home, the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, has been selected as the central site for major components of SKA telescope infrastructure in Australia; SKA telescope infrastructure will also be deployed in South Africa. Read more.

Further Information

 

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