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Researchers concerned about potential SKA changes

One of the redesign options being considered for the Square Kilometre Array telescope could affect its ability to observe the early universe, researchers have warned.

The SKA Organisation is considering crowding the SKA’s components into a smaller space to save money, but this would lead to a loss of resolution, the journal Nature reported on 24 July. Heino Falcke, an astronomer at Radboud University in the Netherlands, said that the change could affect the SKA’s ability to detect faint signals originating from shortly after the big bang.

Redesign options are being considered because the SKA Organisation discovered in December 2016 that the first phase of construction was likely to cost €916 million, rather than the forecasted €674m, Research Fortnight reported in May. The options being considered at that time included reducing the number of components, which would have reduced the SKA’s sensitivity by about 20 per cent.

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