Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MIDPREP — Result In Brief

Project ID: 612599
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Netherlands
Domain: Space, Information and communication technology

Collaboration on the world's largest radio telescope

An international project is planning to build an extensive radio telescope that will help us to better understand the universe. EU researchers worked with South African institutions to exchange knowledge that will ensure the project's success.
Collaboration on the world's largest radio telescope
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a large radio telescope project due to be built in Australia and South Africa, starting in 2018. The SKA will be built in two phases and once complete, it will be the world's largest radio telescope.

A radio telescope is a type of antenna that receives radio waves – a type of electromagnetic radiation – from astronomical sources. The information collected by the SKA could revolutionise our understanding of the universe.

The first phase of construction will involve building instruments for receiving radio waves of different frequencies, including a mid-frequency array (SKA-MID) in South Africa.

Through the EU-funded MIDPREP (Preparing for MID-SKA receiving concepts in South-Africa) initiative, researchers from the Netherlands, Sweden and South Africa collaborated to share knowledge and expertise on developing and building the SKA-MID.

In Europe, new approaches to radio astronomy such as aperture array technology have provided key insights. These include guidance on requirements of future radio telescopes such as the SKA.

MIDPREP kicked off in Mauritius in September 2013 in combination with the international AFRICON conference and a special session where all partners were represented.

Among the main objectives of the initiative were to promote knowledge exchange around concepts, designs and visions for SKA-MID, and its receiving technology. Another intention of the initiative was to share knowledge in the areas of radio-optics, calibration, information and communication technology, and processing for SKA-MID.

Two European and three South African institutions participated in the MIDPREP initiative and 82 scientists and engineers took part in exchanges. To facilitate communication of results among all partners and collaborators, MIDPREP organised three annual workshops.

MIDPREP oversaw excellent progress in all areas of its intended objectives and personnel exchanges.

By establishing common views on collaboration and solidifying steps involving industry, MIDPREP ensured adequate, relevant knowledge for SKA-MID. It also enabled a smooth transition to the next engineering phase and long-term collaboration between those involved.

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Radio telescope, Square Kilometre Array (SKA), mid-frequency array, MIDPREP, radio astronomy
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