JOHANNESBURG: South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope, which will be the most powerful in the Southern Hemsphere when fully constructed, is already making discoveries, says its Project Manager, Willem Esterhuyse.

The MeerKAT radio telescope is currently being built some 90 kilometres from Carnarvon in Northern Cape Province as a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope, a large multi-radio telescope project being built in Australia and South Africa, which will have a total collecting area of approximately one square kilometre and operate over a wide range of frequencies, making it 50 times more sensitive than any other radio instrument.

Thirty eight of the 64 antennae of MeerKAT have been installed and the project will be completed by early next year.

Esterhuyse told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC): "One of the advantages of a radio telescope is as your antennae come on line you can start using them, you don't need all 64 before you can start.

"Last year, with only 16 antennae array that came on line, we actually found a few galaxies which were previously unknown."


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