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In the news:
1.Here’s our latest SKA UPDATE adapted from a story in Science By Daniel Clery on Jun. 19, 2018 Today, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a continent-spanning radio astronomy project, announced that Spain has come on board as the collaboration’s 11th member. That boost will help the sometimes-troubled project as, over the next year or so, it forms an international treaty organization and negotiates funding to start construction.
In Australia, in an extreme radio ‘quite zone’ where the MWA SKA-precursor has already produced some amazing science using revolutionary ‘spider’ antennae arrays, Phase 1 of SKA will add about 130,000 antennas.
Phase one of the SKA in Africa will add more than 130 dishes to South Africa’s 64-dish MeerKAT precursor telescope, on the wide-open plains of the Karoo desert. The last of 64 13.5-meter dishes was installed late last year, and next month South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will officially open the facility. Spread across 8 kilometers, the dishes have a collecting area similar to that of the great workhorse of astrophysics, the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico. But with new hardware designs and a powerful supercomputer to process data, MEEKAT could have an edge on its 40-year-old northern cousin.
So while this partnership announcement with Spain is new, though to be fair, Spain has been collaborating and contributing to SKA through their industry, institutions and scientific teams for many years already. Welcome abourd Spain. ¡Bienvenido a bordo de España!
2. And here’s an update on the latest FRB or Fast Radio Burst News from an accepted paper by Dr Vikram Ravi in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society also on the 19th of June. Here’s an abstract of his abstract: He presents an empirical study of the properties of fast radio bursts (FRBs) and focussed his investigation on a sample of seventeen FRBs detected at the Parkes radio telescope, and concludes that it is uncertain at present whether they share a common class of progenitor object, or arise from a selection of independent progenitors.
3. And to add to the FRB mystery, check out this recently revised paper in ArXiv by Joao G. Rosa, Thomas W. Kephart who hypothesise that FRBs may be a result of spinning Black Holes creating dark matter lasers. Bring on the death rays! Read it for yourself at tinyurl.com/blackholefrb The mystery of FRBs lives on. Watch this space.