The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is an international project to build a giant radio telescope operating at frequencies between 0.05 GHz and 24 GHz. Located on two sites, in Australia and South Africa, this will be the world’s largest telescope, with an effective collecting area of 1 km2. Construction will be achieved in two phases, with phase 1 planned from 2019 to 2023, and phase 2 starting from 2023. Eventually, the SKA instrument will include up to a million of low-frequency antennas and some 2000 mid- and high-frequency dishes.

The key science goals which SKA will address comprise (1) the formation of the first stars and black holes during the dark ages of the Universe, (ii) the formation of the first galaxies and their evolution through time, (iii) the origin of cosmic magnetism, (iv) probing General Relativity through observation of strong gravitational fields, (v) the planetary formation and search for life. The versatility of SKA will also enable exploration of many other subjects.

The LAB is involved in the technical preparation of SKA through the development of digitizers for several SKA frequency bands. The LAB also participates in discussions about using SKA as a VLBI array element, in synergy with the European VLBI Network (EVN) and the future African VLBI Network (AVN).

Scientific contact: Patrick Charlot