Who will build the biggest telescope?

The race is on to build the world’s biggest telescope. It will be built in either South Africa or Western Australia. It’s called the SKA telescope. This stands for Square Kilometre Array and means it will be able to collect data from an area of one square kilometre.

The SKA telescope will be fifty times more powerful than any other telescope already built. The SKA will have thousands of antennas spread out around the winning country’s land. The SKA will mean new discoveries and answers to unanswered questions.

How did the universe begin?

This is a question people have asked for centuries. Was there ever a beginning to the universe? And if so, what happened? And when did it happen?

Some people talk about the Big Bang Theory which they believe was a giant explosion. From this came the creation of the universe. But scientists still discuss this topic.

It is hoped that the new SKA telescope, which will start to be built in 2013, will enable scientists to see much further out into space and maybe, just maybe, discover how and when the universe began. Wow!

Radio telescopes

The SKA telescope is not the same as a telescope that you look through at the night sky or on a lookout point in the mountains. The SKA will have hundreds or even thousands of antennas which help in capturing radio waves from outer space.

It's a bit like the TV antenna you see on the roof of a house. The picture on your TV set gets there using the antenna.

Well because the SKA will be hoping to receive radio waves from way out in space, it will need free air around it. That’s why such a giant telescope will be located in the countryside where there is little interference from other radio signals.

Einstein was a genius

A man called Albert Einstein was a great thinker in science. He came up with a theory about relativity. Scientists believe this theory to be correct. But is it? What do we really know about gravity and black holes and galaxies and the cosmos?

One of the exciting things about the new SKA telescope is that it will take scientists to places no-one has ever been before. But what will they discover? And will they prove once and for all that Einstein really was a genius?

 

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