7th October 2011, Jodrell Bank, UK – HRH The Duke of York visited Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester in the UK on Friday. The Observatory was chosen in April this year to be the location for the SKA Project Office. Prince Andrew toured the Observatory and met with University staff along with members of the SKA Program Development Office team before planting a tree to commemorate his visit.
“We are keen to emphasise that, not only does the SKA project represent the future of radio astronomy, it is also of economic significance globally.” Said Kobus Cloete, SKA Project Manager, who spoke to the Duke about managing the SKA project from Jodrell Bank.
Prince Andrew praised the impending arrival of the SKA headquarters, saying it is an example of the world-leading research going on at the site. He said: “It is going to be an incredibly important instrument, testing even some of Einstein’s theories”.
The transition from the SKA Program Development Office, currently based in central Manchester, to the SKA Project Office, that will be based at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, is scheduled to take place during 2012.
About the SKA
The Square Kilometre Array will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. The total collecting area will be approximately one square kilometre giving 50 times the sensitivity, and 10,000 times the survey speed, of the best current-day telescopes. With thousands of receptors extending out to distances of 3,000 km from the centre of the telescope, the SKA will address fundamental unanswered questions about our Universe including how 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. More than 70 institutes in 20 countries, together with industry partners, are participating in the scientific and technical design of the SKA telescope which will be located in either Australia – New Zealand or Southern Africa extending to the Indian Ocean Islands. The target construction cost is €1,500 million and construction could start as early as 2016.