SKA - Square Kilometer Array

Program Description: SKA will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope, addressing fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including the first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, how galaxies have evolved since then, the role of magnetism in the cosmos, the nature of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth. The Square Kilometer Array is being built in Australia and South Africa. The total collecting area of the SKA will be one square kilometer, or 1,000,000 square meters. This will make the SKA the largest radio telescope array ever constructed, by some margin. To achieve this, the SKA will use several thousand dish (high frequency) and many more low frequency and mid-frequency aperture array telescopes, with the several thousand dishes each being 15 metres in diameter. Rather than just clustered in the central core regions, the telescopes will be arranged in multiple spiral arm configurations, with the dishes extending to vast distances from the central cores, creating what is known as a long baseline interferometer array. Construction Phase is 2016-2024. Prototype systems will begin operation in 2016.

Year Started: 2016.

Organization Description: Collaborators are from neighboring African countries, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Netherland, Sweden, and India).

Data Description: Approximately 160 Gigabits bits per second of data will be transmitted from each radio dish to a central processor meaning that the high frequency dishes alone will produce ten times the current global internet traffic! Every single telescope will be connected to a central core which will combine the data from each into via correlators into more manageable sized data packages. The data needs to be calibrated; currently, best data calibration center is in the Netherlands; post-calibration, data needs to be moved again to the computer screens of scientists working on the immense amounts of information being gathered. It is important that data processing and analysis happens quickly enough that the instrument can be focused on any events in the sky while they are still occurring. The processed data from the SKA telescope will be used by an international community of astronomers who will require connections to the high performance computing facility and enormous archive capability to store the data. This connectivity will be limited by that available on international connection systems, but there is a desire to reach hundreds of Gigabits per second.

Project Type: Instrument

Project Domains: Math and Physical Sciences

Budget: 15 Million Euros

Program Data

Location Lat/Lon Coordinates Location Type Data Type Data Generation Single Data Instance Size (TB) Estimated Daily Data Size (GB) Estimated Annual Data Size (PB) Average Sustained Throughput (Gbps) Maximum Sustained Throughput (Gbps) Online Repository Size (PB) Total Repository Size (PB) Delay Tolerance (minutes) Jitter Sensitive? Uses the Cloud?
Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, Western Australia, Australia -26.6853,116.624 Instrument Instrument Not Specified 10000000.00 30000.00 - -
South Africa, South Africa -30.5595,22.9302 Instrument Not Specified Not Specified 10000000.00 30000.00 - -
Jodrell Bank Observatory, United Kingdom 53.2369,-2.3075 Data Repository and Analysis Not Specified Not Specified 10800.00 4.00 100.00 100.00 - -