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Bid for square km array beefs up in Perth

Bid for square km array beefs up in Perth

WA Premier opens International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

The Western Australia-based research centre, designed to help Australia snare the $2.5 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, has been opened in Perth.

The $100 million International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, which was opened by Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett, is aimed at proving to the world that Australia is a more suitable site to host the SKA project than South Africa. The decision on which country will host the project is expected in 2012.

The SKA will be a radio telescope with 10,000 times more discovery potential than any existing telescope.

Barnett touted that Western Australia is well equipped to host the SKA project, as a big an achievement as putting man on the moon.

“The formation today of this centre allows us as a nation, and as a state, to put forward our scientific credentials,” he said.

In July the CSIRO reported that an Australian-developed algorithm has allowed researchers at the CSIRO to map, for the first time, Centaurus A, an enormous galaxy which emits a radio glow covering an area 200 times bigger than the full Moon.

The algorithm, developed by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope team, allows researchers to resolve imaging issues caused by a massive differential between the “brightness” of the radio waves emitted at the core and edge of the Centaurus A galaxy, based some 14 million light-years away.

In June, a five-year Australian initiative to map and study the observable universe from the southern hemisphere, was announced.

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