The SKA aims to solve some of the biggest questions in the field of astronomy.
The unprecedented sensitivity of the thousands of individual radio receivers, combining to create the world’s largest radio telescope will give astronomers insight into the formation and evolution of the first stars and galaxies after the Big Bang, the role of cosmic magnetism, the nature of gravity, and possibly even life beyond Earth.
If history is any guide, the SKA will make many more discoveries than we can imagine today.
The science key drivers for the SKA have been broken down in to key categories, each of which has its own working group to facilitate and manage the scientific goals.
Some of the main SKA science drivers include:
How do galaxies evolve? What is dark energy?
The acceleration in the expansion of the Universe has been attributed to a mysterious dark energy. The SKA will investigate this expansion after the Big Bang by mapping the cosmic distribution of hydrogen. more…
Strong-field tests of gravity using pulsars and black holes
Was Einstein right about gravity? The SKA will investigate the nature of gravity and challenge the theory of general relativity. more…
What generates giant magnetic fields in space?
The SKA will create three-dimensional maps of cosmic magnets to understand how they stabilise galaxies, influence the formation of stars and planets, and regulate solar and stellar activity. more…
How were the first black holes and stars formed? The SKA will look back to the Dark Ages, a time before the Universe lit up, to discover how the earliest black holes and stars were formed. more…
Are we alone? The SKA will be able to detect very weak extraterrestrial signals and will search for complex molecules, the building blocks of life, in space. more…
Flexible design to enable exploration of the unknown
While this is truly exciting and transformational science, history has shown that many of the greatest discoveries have happened unexpectedly. The unique sensitivity and versatility of the SKA will make it a discovery machine.
We should be prepared for the possibilities.
For the full SKA science case in detail see the SKA Science book