The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope – The Square Kilometer Array telescope will revolutionize our understanding of the universe. This computer-generated image shows how some of its 3,000 dishes would look on site.
Each antenna dish will measure around 15 meters across. A dense cluster of dishes will sit in a "central core region" with others spread out over an area over at least 3,000 kilometers.
Radio telescopes explore the universe by radio-frequency radiation.
In addition to 3,000 dishes there will be two sets of aperture array antennas -- dense (pictured in this CGI) and sparse -- which will pick up lower frequencies.
This is how the sparse aperture array might look in situ.
The dishes and aperture arrays will be arranged into "five spiral arms" which will stretch out ever more sparsely over a massive area.
The creation of the SKA telescope -- expected to be fully operational by 2024 -- will provide answers to questions about how the universe has expanded, how stars and black holes form and possibly detect signals from extra terrestrials.
Two sites are in the running to play permanent host to the SKA telescope. The Australia/New Zealand bid will be based in Western Australia with a sparse antenna array extending over 5,000 kilometers into New Zealand.
A SKA telescope located in South Africa would be located in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape with antenna stations dotted all over the continent.