Wallpaper Wednesday

13 04 2011

AUT 30-meter Cassegrain Wheel-and-Track Beam-Waveguide Antenna

I love it when New Zealand and Australia get together to do things, as they always come up with great ANZ+ words. Take for instance, anzSKA, the Australian and New Zealand component of the Square Kilometre Array, a collaborative effort in radio astronomy.

The SKA project is immense in terms of territory and stated goals. Some twenty countries will be participating in the development of antennae, fiber networks, signal processing, and computing. The SKA will use 3,000 dish antennae, each about 15 m in diameter. The antennae will be distributed in five spiral arms extending at least 3,000 km from the center of the array. Last month, SKA announced that the Project Office will be at the Jodrell Bank Observatory near Manchester, UK, beginning January 2012.   The actual SKA array will be built either in Southern Africa or in Australia-New Zealand, knocking China and a joint Argentina-Brazilian proposal off the long list.  The final site choice is scheduled to be named next year.

So, today’s wallpaper is an image of a former Telecom New Zealand dish. Located north of Auckland, it previously was used for telephone, television, and broadband communications. In November 2010, Auckland University of Technology acquired the dish and set to repurposing it as the country’s largest radio telescope antenna. In addition to promoting more opportunities for research in practical radio astronomy, the dish is seen as a tool for enhancing New Zealand’s chances to co-host the SKA with Australia.