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  • Context (IE): Union Cabinet approves Rs 1250 Cr for India’s participation in the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO).
  • SKAO is an international project to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometre (one million square metres) of collecting area.
  • Headquarters: United Kingdom.
  • It is an array of antennas located in South Africa and Australia.
  • Objective: Answer key questions in modern astrophysics and cosmology like studying the universe‘s history, understanding how galaxies evolve, deciphering the nature of dark matter, etc.
  • Member countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the UK.
    • India joined in 2012 as an Associate Member. In 2022, the National Centre for Radio Astronomy, Pune, and SKAO signed cooperation agreements.
    • India is participating through the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • The SKAO will comprise a network of high and low-frequency radio telescopes:
    1. SKA-Low in Australia,
    2. SKA-Mid in South Africa.
Radio telescopes, unlike optical telescopes, can detect invisible gas and therefore can reveal areas of space that may be obstructed by cosmic dust.

The Road that leads to the Square Kilometre Array | Spaceaustralia

Square Kilometre Array Project - Rau's IAS

Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT)

  • It is the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope array for low frequencies.
  • Location: Khodad, 80 km north of Pune, Maharashtra.
  • It detects radio waves from celestial bodies with wavelengths of about one meter.
  • It is operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), which is part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.
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