Square Kilometre Array
The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s leading instrument in radio astronomy for the next generation, and will be substantially based in southern Africa. The SKA is designed to answer questions about the fundamental physics of black holes, the evolution of galaxies, and to test General Relativity to breaking point. It is providing a vehicle for human capital development in physics and electrical and electronic engineering, as well as providing a high-speed fibre data network in African countries.
The MeerKAT telescope in the Karoo desert, is a precursor instrument to the SKA. It has been designed by a collaboration of European and African astronomers and engineers, and will be used for astronomical observations by international teams co-led by scientists from African universities and the University of Oxford, to investigate problems in Cosmology, the early history of the Universe, Black Holes, Transient phenomena, and Radio Pulsars. The full telescope will be made up of 64 parabolic antennas like the ones shown in the photos here, and preliminary operations have just commenced. We look forward to reporting the initial results in 2017!