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SKA committee to decide telescope location

An international organisation has been formed to govern the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope and decide its location, it was announced on 24 November.

Australia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK will jointly manage the €1.5 billion project that will comprise over 3,000 antennas over a 5,500 kilometre baseline.

An expert committee will consider bids to host the telescope in London on 8 December and the organisation is expected to give its decision in March 2012.

Two consortia, made up of Australia and New Zealand, and an African group led by South Africa, are competing to host the telescope.

According to Brian Boyle, ANZ SKA project director, the two bids are not lobbying.

“This is a merit-based process. We are not allowed to make comparative statements about our bid and South Africa, although ours is very strong,” he said.