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SKA precursor telescope MeerKAT releases new images using its current 32 antennas


Large scale bubbles and arcs seen with MeerKAT show stellar nurseries (where stars are born) in the Milky Way. For comparison, the previous best image of this star-forming region is shown at the bottom, obtained with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). Credit: SKA SA

Cape Town, Friday 19 May 2017 –  The South African SKA precursor telescope MeerKAT has just released its recent AR1.5 (Array Release 1.5) results, images achieved by using various configurations of the 32 antennas currently operational in the Karoo.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, preceding the delivery of the Budget Vote of the Department of Science and Technology to the South African parliament, embarked on a tour of the Iziko Museum, where SKA South Africa joined other exhibitors for a showcase. During this exhibition, SKA SA Chief Scientist Dr Fernando Camilo and SKA SA Head of Science Commissioning Dr Sharmila Goedhart presented the AR1.5 results to the minister.

This milestone of the integration of 32 antennas with single polarisation correlator was achieved on schedule by the end of March 2017. The 32 antennas are part of the eventual 64 antennas which are being built at the Losberg site in the Northern Cape.

In her Budget Vote, the Minister announced that the Research Development and Support Programme will transfer R693 million to the National Research Foundation to ensure the completion of MeerKAT, as a key priority for 2017/18.

MeerKAT is one of the precursor telescopes to the SKA and will eventually be integrated into SKA1-mid after being a world-class instrument in its own right for several years.

Read the full press release from SKA South Africa here.