The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is inviting media to Carnarvon, in the Northern Cape, from 16 to 19 November 2017. Carnarvon is where the South African portion of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world's largest radio telescope, is being built.

 

The DST is currently building the MeerKAT telescope, the South African precursor to the larger international SKA. In order to build MeerKAT, SKA SA developed the engineering testbed KAT-7 (Karoo Array Telescope), with seven dishes spread over 200 metres. KAT-7 produced its first radio images of galaxies in 2012. 

 

Engineering and construction of the MeerKAT telescope has been progressing well. The first set of 16 antennas connected into an array, known as Array Release 1 (AR1), was launched in June 2016.  When tested, the AR1 produced images with much greater detail and better clarity than anything captured before, proving that the MeerKAT is on the right track to becoming the world most sensitive radio telescope until the SKA is completed. 

 

A total of 64 dishes will be connected to make up the complete MeerKAT array by end of March 2018.

 

The astronomy project continues to bring numerous benefits to the communities in the area – the people of Carnarvon, Williston, Van Wyksvlei, Brandvlei, Vosburg, Loxton, and Calvinia – in the form of jobs, academic bursaries and technical training.

 

The Minister of Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor, will celebrate the socio-economic development achievements with the communities around Carnarvon at a ministerial public participation programme on Saturday, 18 November.

 

The media are invited to the SKA site on Friday, 17 November, for a tour of the facility, during which they will learn about developments in the project.

 

Issued by the Department of Science and Technology

 

For general enquiries, please contact Veronica Mohapeloa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 083 400 5750

For ministerial enquiries, contact Lunga Ngqengelele at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 082 566 0446

 

Veronica Mohapeloa

Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Department of Science and Technology
Cell: +2783 400 5750
Tel: +2712 843 6788
Fax: +2786 678 4997
Website: www.dst.gov.za
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.