Mid West Radio-quiet Zone Strengthened in Support of Radio Astronomy

CSIRO's ASKAP antennas on site at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory.  Credit: Dragonfly Media.

25 July 2011

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has just announced enhanced protection for the Mid West Radio-quiet Zone (RQZ) in remote Western Australia, to support the development of the world's premier radio astronomy facility at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO).

The MRO is home to CSIRO's Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope currently being developed, and is Australia's candidate core site for the future international SKA telescope project.

The new Frequency Band Plan released, provides greater legislative certainty for the levels of technical protection in place since 2005, and extends the frequency range of the Mid West RQZ.

The Band Plan extends to 150km radius, as for the previous Embargo, and a new inner zone of 70km radius has been created, within which radio astronomy is the primary service. The Mid West RQZ coordination zone still extends to 260km radius via the ACMA RALI MS 32 introduced in 2007.

The ACMA measures take into account the requirements of major proposed mining activities in the region, the radio-quietness needs of radio astronomy proponents of the MRO, and the policy of Commonwealth and WA State Governments.

The revised provisions will enhance current radio astronomy activities taking place at the MRO as well as strengthen the Australia – New Zealand bid to host the future SKA telescope project.

For more information, please read the ACMA announcement.

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