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KAT-7 (seven-dish MeerKAT precursor array)

The seven-dish MeerKAT precursor array, KAT-7, is the world's first radio telescope array consisting of composite antenna structures.

South Africa is currently building the Karoo Array Telescope, or MeerKAT, a mid-frequency 'pathfinder' or demonstrator radio telescope, alongside the SKA core site.

The first seven dishes of the local precursor instrument - known as KAT-7 - were completed by December 2010 and are now being commissioned.

It is the world's first radio telescope with dishes made of fibre glass. KAT-7 is an engineering prototype for the 64-dish MeerKAT, but the world's scientists see it as a useful instrument in its own right, and they are keen to switch it on for doing science as soon as possible.

KAT-7 has already delivered images of the Centaurus A, a galaxy 14-million light years away.

Want to know more?

KAT-7 photographs
Download photographs of the first seven dishes of the local precursor instrument.

SKA Science/Engineering
Technical information is available on the SKA Science/Engineering public website.

Questions and answers about MeerKAT and the SKA
All your questions answered about MeerKAT and the SKA