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Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder Goes Live

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  • by z3d4r (598419) on Saturday October 06, 2012 @01:56AM (#41566323)

    Some of you might remember previous slashdot articles featuring the CSIRO sueing tech companies over patents.
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/09/04/22/1545238/csiro-settles-with-tech-giants-over-wifi-patent-spat [slashdot.org]
    http://slashdot.org/story/12/04/05/2131233/the-story-behind-australias-csiro-wi-fi-claims [slashdot.org]
    Well...this is the kind of thing the cash from those patents is paying for :)

    I, for one, welcome our new CSIRO nerd overlords.

  • Re:I'm pretty smart (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06, 2012 @08:29AM (#41567123)

    Another two cents, if anyone's interested:

    The South African pathfinder for the high-frequency component of the SKA is called MeerKAT [wikipedia.org], and the Australian one is ASKAP [wikipedia.org], the one mentioned in this story. MeerKAT will have more dishes, which makes it more sensitive and better at looking at faint astronomical objects. ASKAP is less sensitive, but uses fancy receivers (PAFs: Phased Array Feeds) that let it see more of the sky at any moment. The plan is to use ASKAP to do wide-area surveys, looking for interesting things on the sky, and MeerKAT to do more sensitive follow-up observations on whatever ASKAP finds. So they should work well together. It's yet to be decided whether the full SKA will use phased array feeds or not: they're a big improvement over traditional receivers, but they're more expensive.

    ASKAP has 36 dishes built so far, but not all of them have phased array feeds yet. The first 6 PAFs have been in place for a while; the next 6, with some design improvements, are currently being built. (Last I heard, anyway.)

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