Searching African Skies


Searching African Skies
The Square Kilometre Array and South Africa’s quest
to hear the songs of the stars
Sarah Wild
with guest chapters by Temba Matomela and Toby Shapshak

After nine-years of work by the South African and Australian SKA site bid
teams, the independent SKA Site Advisory Committee (SSAC), composed of
world-renowned experts, carried out an objective technical and scientific
assessment of the sites in South Africa and Australia, and identified by
consensus Africa as the preferred site. However, in order to be inclusive, the
SKA Organisation has agreed to consider constructing one of the three SKA
receiver components in Australia. The decision by the SKA Organisation to
build the majority of the SKA in Africa coincides with our celebrations for
Africa Day. It also fits in well with the African agenda as we celebrate the
49th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity and
the 10th anniversary of the African Union.
–Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor: 25 May 2012
In the era of technological advancement astronomers want to build the most
powerful telescope ever, to see back to before the first stars and galaxies
formed. The SKA will be a radio telescope – instead of seeing light waves, it
will make pictures from radio waves.
Sarah Wild’s Searching African Skies is the story of South African radio
astronomy and the quest to hear the songs of the stars. What, exactly, is
the Square Kilometre Array? How did South Africa end up bidding against
Australia to host the largest scientific instrument on Earth? What does it
hope to find in outer space? Are we alone in the universe? Will we be able to
see as far back as the big bang? And can a developing country justify building
a massive radio telescope at the expense of housing, healthcare and meeting
basic needs? Jacana presents the book that shall answer these questions.
Award-winning science columnist Sarah Wild is currently the Science and
Technology Editor at Business Day. She has a Bachelor of Science in Physics,
Electronics and English Literature, specialising in radio astronomy. This is
her first full-length African science book.


Chapter 1: Introduction - Discovery of Radio Waves
Chapter 2: Astronomy in SA
Chapter 3: The basics of radio astronomy
Chapter 4: KAT-7 and MeerKAT
Chapter 5: An African SKA
Chapter 6: Challenges
Chapter 7: An African telescope array
Chapter 8: Benefits
Chapter 9: SKA science and technology


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This product was added to our catalog on Monday 13 August, 2012.

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