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October 2010
In this issue
Innovative new design for SA's MeerKAT
New measurements of radio frequency interference at the proposed South African and Australian SKA sites
Africa unites behind continent's SKA bid
IAU Astronomy Development Office will be in South Africa
Global partnerships to meet SKA demands
Developing skills for the future
SKA Africa boosts maths and science at nearby schools
Northern Cape communities gear up to support Africa's SKA bid
HartRAO 26m radio telescope recommissioned
Houwteq Anechoic Room Facility
Updated branding for SKA Africa
New home for SKA Africa in Cape Town

Innovative new design for SA's MeerKAT

Following an extensive engineering design process, the baseline design concept for the South African MeerKAT precursor telescope has been decided. This design process consisted of an in-depth design study that investigated implementation options and tradeoffs for all key subsystems, and culminated in a Concept Design Review (CoDR) undertaken by an independent panel of international experts. Read on

New measurements of radio frequency interference

The radio quietness of a proposed site for a radio telescope - in other words, the absence of interfering radio signals from mobile phones, televisions, radios and other electrical devices - will be one of the key considerations in selecting whether the core array of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be built in South Africa or Australia. Read on

Africa unites behind continent's SKA bid

The African SKA Working Group held its 5th meeting in Accra, Ghana from 1-2 September 2010. The purpose of the African SKA Working Group is to facilitate action on issues relevant to Africa's bid for the SKA, including; site characterisation and readiness and the development of radio astronomy in Africa and science and engineering capacity development at local universities. Read on

IAU Astronomy Development Office will be in South Africa

The international astronomy community has decided to base its new 10-year programme to promote astronomy in the developing world in South Africa. The new International Astronomical Union (IAU) Office for Astronomy Development will be at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town. This positions South Africa as a leader in an ambitious global strategy to bring astronomy to developing countries across the world. Read on

Global partnerships to meet SKA demands

The SKA South Africa Project works closely with leading science and engineering teams around the globe. These collaborations make it possible to push the boundaries of science and technology towards fulfilling the scientific, engineering and technical requirements of the SKA. Read on

Developing skills for the future

The SKA South Africa Project has energised the development of high level skills in radio astronomy and related engineering disciplines in Southern Africa. The number of professionals working in radio astronomy increased from 12 in 2003 to 54 in 2010. There are now also about seventy engineers, scientists and technicians in the Project's office working on the development and construction of the MeerKAT telescope. Read on

SKA Africa boosts maths and science at nearby schools

SKA Africa's schools outreach programme aims to change the face of science and mathematics teaching in Carnarvon and Williston - the towns nearest to South Africa's proposed site for the core of the SKA telescope. Read on

Northern Cape communities gear up to support Africa's SKA bid

The SKA South Africa Project has established stakeholder forums in the towns of Carnarvon and Williston, and is in the process of setting up a similar forum in Van Wyksvlei. These small Karoo towns are located in the region of the proposed site for the core of the SKA. The forums will keep these communities up to date on Africa's bid to host the SKA, as well as the building of the MeerKAT radio telescope in the same area. Read on

HartRAO 26m radio telescope recommissioned

The 26m diameter radio telescope at the South Africa's Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) has been recommissioned following a major repair project. Built in 1960 as part of NASA's Deep Space Programme, the main bearing in the telescope's polar shaft failed in October 2008 and the telescope had to be shut down. Read on

Houwteq Anechoic Room Facility

The Houwteq test facilities are operated by the Institute for Satellite and Software Applications (ISSA), a government facility managed by South Africa's Department of Communications. The facilities are located near Grabouw in the Western Cape, about 100 km East of Cape Town. Read on

Updated branding for SKA Africa
The branding (logo) of the SKA South Africa Project has been adjusted to reflect our key partnership with other African countries in our bid to host the Square Kilometre Array. Read on

New home for SKA Africa in Cape Town
The Cape Town office of the SKA South Africa Project has relocated to new premises. The new street and postal address is: SKA SA, 3rd Floor, The Park, Park Road, Pinelands, 7405, South Africa. Read on