The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) promises to usher in a new era in radio astronomy. Astronomers will use the telescope to probe the early universe by looking as far back in time as the first 100 million years after the Big Bang. It will also be employed to search for life and planets, as well as to study the nature of dark energy, and to examine theories of gravity and general relativity.
I recently travelled to the global headquarters of the SKA Organisation at the Jodrell Bank observatory in the north of England, along with a small film crew. We met scientists and engineers involved with the SKA, and we produced this short film about what the project is designed to achieve. The video takes you on a tour of the sites in Australia and southern Africa that will host the SKA, featuring artists’ impressions of the impressive telescope equipment.
It was inspiring to hear the SKA representatives talk about the unprecedented scale of the project and the range of scientific fields that stand to benefit from the new tool. But it was also interesting to learn about the economic and social considerations that underpin a scientific project of such vast scale. The hope is that it can inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers in Australia and the African continent.
We produced the film in connection with the July issue of Physics World, a special issue devoted to dark matter and dark energy. Physics World is published by the Institute of Physics, which also publishes CQG and CQG+.