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SADEC - SKA Meeting 2003/10/08

South Africa is bidding to host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) - the ultimate radio telescope. The size of the instrument with its distributed elements, means that it would actually have nodes in a number of African countries, particularly those in SADC.

A delegation of science leaders from SADC countries visited South Africa for a briefing on the project, the benefits for their countries and discussion of establishment of radio quiet zones in neighbouring countries.

The delegation consisted of communications regulators, director-generals from departments of science, technology and communications and surveyors-general from 12 Southern African countries.

As part of the programme they spent Wednesday October 8 at HartRAO, in order to see a current-generation radio telescope in action.

SADC delegation
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The delegation are seen here in front of the 26-m Hartbeesthoek Radio Telescope.

panel construction
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HartRAO Director Justin Jonas describes the construction of the 252 new panels for the radio telescoep at HartRAO. One of the final set of spare panels is seen on the "bed of bolts" used to form the parabolic profile.

control room #1
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Justin Jonas describes the linux-based computer control systems for the radio telescope, while standing in front of the racks containing the computer interfaces to the control electronics, in the telescope control room.

control room #2
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Inside the telescope control room, HartRAO Director Justin Jonas briefs the delegation on radio astronomy techniques.