News & Media releases

Media releases, statements and news

SKA prototype dish assembled for the first time
6 February 2018 – The first fully assembled SKA dish was unveiled today at a ceremony in Shijiazhuang, China, by the Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, in the presence of representatives from the countries involved and the SKA Organisation. The dish is one of two final prototypes that will be tested ahead of production of an early array.

MeerKAT construction recognised by industry at 2017 Logistics Achiever Awards
7 November 2017 – The MeerKAT radio telescope, currently being built by Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA), was recognised by the construction industry last week when it was presented with a Special Platinum Award at the 2017 Logistics Achiever Awards.

SARAO and SAEON sign three-year Memorandum of Agreement to implement the Integrated Environmental Management Plan for SKA in South Africa
1 November 2017 – The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) and the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), which are National Research Facilities managed by the National Research Foundation (NRF), signed a three-year Memorandum of Agreement to implement the Integrated Environmental Management Plan (IEMP) for the SKA project in South Africa.

Progress update on the planning and design of SKA1
27 October 2017 – The SKAO is moving towards finalising the detailed design of the SKA1 radio telescope which will culminate in Critical Design Reviews (CDR) for all the telescope products and associated infrastructure and power during the course of 2018. The detailed design is being undertaken by 9 Design Consortia from across the world.

MeerKAT makes its debut scientific contribution on an international collaboration and major discovery
16 October 2017 – An unprecedented international collaboration of telescopes has lead to the first direct detection of gravitational waves – ripples in space and time – in addition to light from the spectacular collision of two neutron stars. The discovery marks the first time that a cosmic event has been viewed in both gravitational waves and light.

Joint media statement of the outcomes of the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the SKA Africa partner countries
25 August 2017 – Members of the nine Square Kilometre Array (SKA) African partner countries represented by its respective Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Science and Technology concluded the Fourth Ministerial Meeting on the SKA in Accra, Ghana, on 24 August 2017 by signing a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on radio astronomy.

Ghana and South Africa celebrate first success of African network of telescopes
14 July 2017 – The Ministries of Ghana and South Africa announce the combination of ‘first light’ science observations which confirm the successful conversion of the Ghana communications antenna from a redundant telecoms instrument into a functioning Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) radio telescope.

2017 Jansky Lectureship Awarded to South African Astronomer Bernie Fanaroff
29 June 2017 – Associated Universities, Inc. and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory have awarded the 2017 Jansky Lectureship to South African astronomer Bernie Fanaroff for his exceptional contributions to radio astronomy and his unparalleled leadership through public service.

Dr Rob Adam delivers update on SKA SA and MeerKAT to Parliament
31 May 2017 – Dr Rob Adam, SKA SA Managing Director, delivered an update on the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and MeerKAT projects in Parliament on Wednesday, 31 May 2017 to the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology.

Condolences to late Professor Giovanni Bignami’s family and colleagues
25 May 2017 – SKA South Africa, together with the global radio astronomy community, expresses its deepest condolences to the family, friends and acquaintances of Professor Giovanni Bignami, the Chair of the SKA Board.

Carnarvon Primary Team takes third place at Virtual Gear Robotics Competition
19 May 2017 – A team from Carnarvon Primary School took third place in the Virtual Gear Robotics Competition which was held in earlier this month.

SKA SA presents first Array Release 1.5 images taken with MeerKAT 32 to Minister Naledi Pandor
16 May 2017 – SKA SA Chief Scientist Dr Fernando Camilo and SKA SA Head of Science Commissioning Dr Sharmila Goedhart, released to the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, the recent AR1.5 results, images achieved by using various configurations of the 32 antennas currently operational in the Karoo.

Pioneering research and data management in Africa: a dual first
3 April 2017 -The first Big Data Africa Summer School on the African continent was launched in Cape Town yesterday. This unique initiative will expose students from various academic backgrounds to the fundamentals of big data research by applying their knowledge to practical areas in astronomy, bioinformatics and health sciences; and the transfer of knowledge in the area of data science that builds on a multi-disciplinary approach.

Brandvlei Stofskoppers steal the show at Scifest Africa
17 March 2017 -The Brandvlei Stofskoppers, a rieldans troupe from Brandvlei in the Northern Cape, returned home with superstar status after they received a standing ovation and calls of “Encore!” at the Scifest Africa official opening on Friday, 10 March 2017.

Artisan student on SKA SA bursary passes trade test to qualify as fitter and turner
17 March 2017 – Davan Hoorn, an FET student training to be a fitter and turner at the SKA SA site at Losberg, passed his trade test to qualify recently.

Karoo’s HERA radio telescope attracts even more international funding
6 March 2017 – The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) radio telescope, located only a few kilometres from the MeerKAT radio telescope, was awarded a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in the US to the value of $5.8 million, equivalent to approximately R75 million.

SKA South Africa provides bursaries to four more Carnarvon matriculants to study at university
3 March 2017 – Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) has awarded bursaries, for university studies in science and technology, to four learners, who matriculated from Carnarvon High School in 2016.

SKA and Agri SA partners for the benefit of local communities
22 February 2017 – SKA South Africa and Agri SA today signed an agreement that commits both organisations to jointly ensure that local communities of the Karoo benefit from the SKA project.

Two SKA SA bursary students depart on Australian vacation work programme
2 December 2016 – Two SKA SA bursary funded students, Tokiso Motoai and Katherine James, have been selected to participate in the first exchange Australian vacation work programme, the CSIRO/SKA SA Undergraduate Vacation Scholarship.

HERA telescope in the Karoo gets $9.5 million funding injection to view the Universe’s first stars and galaxies
14 September 2016 – The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array (HERA) brings more international funding to South Africa with a $9.5 million investment to expand its capabilities, as announced today by the US National Science Foundation.

SKA South Africa sponsored student heads to Princeton for PhD
25 August 2016 – Ms Heather Prince, an astronomy postgraduate student in the Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has been accepted to study a PhD degree in Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University. She joins the prestigious institution’s Department of Astrophysical Sciences in September this year. SKA South Africa provided Prince with a grant to complete her Masters degree in astrophysics, which she received from UKZN in April this year.

UKZN PhD astronomer finds a new radio halo
21 July 2016 – Dr Kenda Knowles, a Claude Leon postdoctoral researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Astrophysics and Cosmology Research Unit, has found evidence for a new radio halo in a low-mass galaxy cluster.

MeerKAT joins the ranks of the world’s great scientific instruments through its First Light image
16 July 2016 – The MeerKAT First Light image of the sky shows unambiguously that MeerKAT is already the best radio telescope of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Array Release 1 (AR1) provides 16 of an eventual 64 dishes integrated into a working telescope array. It is the first significant scientific milestone achieved by MeerKAT, the radio telescope under construction in the Karoo that will eventually be integrated into the Square Kilometre Array.

HERA joins family of SKA precursors
5 July 2016 – The Hydrogen Epoch of Reionisation Array (HERA) was granted the status of SKA precursor telescope by SKA Organisation, joining the three other SKA precursor telescopes located on the SKA sites in Australia and South Africa.

Young SKA SA science process developer attends NASA summer workshop on asteroid defence
1 July 2016 – A young SKA SA science process developer, Olorato Mosiane, is currently attending the NASA summer workshop on asteroid defence. He is one of only three selected from South Africa.

As astronomers gather to discuss scientific potential of MeerKAT, the telescope being built in the Karoo produces its first remarkable image
24 May 2016 – More than 100 researchers and students from South Africa and around the world are meeting this week to share plans to use the MeerKAT radio telescope. This week, an observation using just 4 of the eventual 64 dishes has produced a remarkable view of the sky, revealing never before seen radio galaxies in the distant universe.

SKA SA, NMC Civils and Absa collaborate in a new economic endeavour for Karoo contractors
10 May 2016 – SKA SA and NMC Civils have partnered with Absa in an enterprise and supply chain initiative to develop and support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Northern Cape through the SKA programme.

Former Columbia University academic joins SKA South Africa as Chief Scientist
26 February 2016 – Dr Fernando Camilo, former senior research scientist at Columbia University in New York, joins the Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) as Chief Scientist on 1 April 2016.

SKA SA-led Infra SA Consortium receives more than R40 million in European Union Horizon 2020 funding
23 February 2016 – A Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA)-led consortium has received €2,251,920 (more than R40,3 million) from the European Union Horizon 2020 Funding to undertake the detailed design of the SKA1_MID infrastructure and power elements in South Africa.

SKA SA staff members and management officially welcomes Dr Rob Adam as Project Director
26 January 2016 – Dr Rob Adam, the new SKA SA Project Director, was officially welcomed to the organisation. He took over the reigns on 1 January 2016.

SKA SA sponsors 11th CASPER workshop hosted by the University of Cape Town
22 January 2016 – The Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) sponsors the 11th Collaboration for Astronomy Signal Processing Electronics Research (CASPER) workshop from Monday, 25 to Friday, 29 January 2016 by the University of Cape Town.

SKA SA gives full bursaries to five Carnarvon matric learners who obtained exemption to further their studies
8 January 2016 – The Square Kilometre Array South Africa (SKA SA) will give full bursaries for undergraduate studies to five matric learners from Carnarvon High School who obtained matric exemptions in the 2015 National Senior Certificate examination.