Maximising impact with the SKA in Australia

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08 April 2016

Australian astronomers today met for the second annual OzSKA meeting, to discuss developments in the mega-science project, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – with a focus not only on astronomy, but also technological development and the evolution of the SKA Organisation itself.

The aim of this meeting was to provide an update about recent progress within the SKA project including: the development of key science and working group activities, how to participate, key upcoming dates, and progress towards the realisation of scientific operations on the first phase of the SKA, known as SKA1. 

Kicking off the meeting was an update on policy and operations, the role of Australia’s SKA Science Advisory Committee and also the development of SKA1-Low as part of pre-construction R&D work currently underway.

This set the scene for the community to know the significant progress that has been made on the SKA since the 2015 OzSKA meeting.

Throughout the day, the question of how to take advantage of key SKA science drivers and the development of SKA-Low in Australia took centre stage, with invited talks covering:

  • The Epoch of Reionisation and Cosmic Dawn Science
  • Intensity Mapping Cosmology and Synergies with the EoR
  • HI Galaxy Science
  • Low-Frequency Pulsar Astronomy
  • Transients
  • Extragalactic Continuum Science
  • Cosmic Magnetism

Discussions focused on opportunities provided by the SKA to grow the community of Australian-based researchers involved in the various SKA-related fields, and how to transform the ‘big questions’ of the SKA from theories in to world-leading observational astronomy.

The afternoon session focused on a discussion of the more physical aspects of the SKA in Australia, such as the radio-quiet environment of CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, the MWA telescope paving the way to SKA1-Low, and lastly, enabling survey science with the SKA precursor instruments.

OzSKA was established to foster collaboration between Australian scientists who are, or would like to be, involved in the SKA. Driving this is the aim to build a community of knowledgeable scientists ready to make use of the SKA once it is constructed, and maximise science from the telescope.  

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