UCL Astrophysics Group


SKA - Square Kilometer Array

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) is a billion Euros international project; it will be the largest ever designed radio telescope with one square kilometre of collecting area.

This international project will revolutionise our understanding in several areas of physics, including general relativity, planet formation, understanding magnetic fields and cosmology. The SKA, just like LOFAR, will possess the capabilities of observing the entire sky, with the user choosing where to measure the data.

The SKA will provide a redshift survey covering over half the sky and more than a billion galaxies. It will be able to measure dark energy as well as neutrino masses to a superior accuracy over most other surveys forthcoming in the next decade or so; for instance, the SKA will measure the neutrino mass scale with an error of around 0.015eV. Members of the Astrophysics department have suggested using the SKA as a redsfhit survey machine during the last few years and have outlined what designs would be able to provide such science. If this international project goes ahead it will be one of the most important projects in measuring the nature of dark energy (together with Euclid) because of the shear size of the Universe which will be surveyed.

Much of the current activity focuses on the development of a telescope which can be built in phases. The first phase is aimed towards building a smaller core which will still have the same capabilities as  the full array, but less sensitive and with less resolution. Further phases would have the full power of the telescope. The first phases are expected in the next few years,  2015-2016, and the full array in around 2020.