AR, VR & Fun Stuff
The SKA Organisation is eager for science enthusiasts of all ages to engage with the project, and to have fun in the process!
Why not make your own SKA dish – or a whole array – using the template below, or see the SKA in AR? Or scroll down to find out more about SKA Africa’s Mission MeerKAT comic book.
See the SKA antennas in Augmented Reality
Experience both antenna designs of the SKA on their sites in South Africa and Western Australia brought to life in augmented reality. What’s more you can personalise them with your own choice of colours!
Draw your own shapes and colours in the real world on the new SKA colouring sheet, and using your mobile device see it pop into life in the digital world on the surface of the SKA’s dishes.
Once you’re in the app, you can explore the SKA antennas in both telescope host countries, and learn more about how a radio telescope like the SKA will collect information from the sky for astronomers around the globe.
You can see how the SKA-Low antennas will be laid out in stations in Australia, and even give them a colour of their own.
The augmented reality experience has been developed by the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) with New Zealand firm Quivervision, and funding from SKA Australia and the Australian Government.
See the augmented reality app in action, then download the colouring sheet and design your own! The Quivervision app behind the augmented reality experience is available for free on the Apple app store and the Google Play Store.
Explore our Galaxy in Virtual Reality from the SKA site
The GLEAMoscope VR app shows the Milky Way as seen from the Western Australia’s Murchison region, in wavelengths ranging from gamma ray to X-ray, visible light, far infrared, microwave and radio waves. The app features the Murchison Radioastronomy Observatory (MRO) site, including the recently deployed SKA low prototype antennas. The radio observations on GLEAMoscope originate from the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA (GLEAM) survey on the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), an SKA precursor telescope.
GLEAMoscope VR recently added an Italian language option, and is available for both Android and Apple devices. Note: you’ll need a cardboard VR headset for an optimal experience! If you don’t have one, you can make your own with a few cheap and simple bits and pieces.
Cut Out SKA Dish
Here you can cut out and make your own model of the SKA dishes. By making multiple telescopes, you can work out the best way to arrange them to maximise the amount of signal they can collect (hint: it’s a spiral!)
Simply follow the instructions that are next to the printed image to help you build and keep your personal piece of the SKA.
Now just imagine, you would need 200 of them to represent the whole array! Fun fact: if you’d like to build the SKA dish array to scale, you would need to spread your 200 dishes over 1.5km! In reality, the SKA dishes will spread over 150km in the South African Karoo region, combining to make part of the largest telescope ever constructed.
Download the dish template PDF here and print on thin card.
Mission MeerKAT and Cosmic Adventures
SKA Africa’s Mission MeerKAT cartoon explains how radio astronomy works and why the SKA and its precursor telescope MeerKAT are being built in South Africa’s Karoo region. The colourful comic book format is designed to engage children and their families in the story of the SKA and MeerKAT.
Check out the adventures of inquisitive school girl Hannah, young astronomer Naledi and their animal friends (including an actual meerkat) as they learn more about the SKA! Download the comics on the SARAO website.
The SKA also features in The Cosmic Adventures of Alice and Bob, alongside its precursor in Western Australia, the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Join Alice and Bob on an exciting journey of invention and discovery, and learn about true stories of scientific breakthroughs, including how student Jocelyn Bell discovered the first pulsar!
Produced by CAASTRO, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics, the comic book communicates ideas about science, research, innovation, and astronomy to primary school children. Educators can find teaching notes on the CAASTRO website.
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