Max-Planck Institute invests US$186mn to install radio receivers in South Africa

Radio-SatMeerKAT is a South African-funded and designed telescope, with 75 per cent of the components sourced locally, and will be the most sensitive radio telescope of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. (Image source: MeerKAT)Germany-based Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) has invested US$186mn for the construction and installation of radio receivers on MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa

The MeerKAT radio telescope is expected to be completed in 2017 and it would be the largest radio telescope in the world, said MPIfR.

Radio telescopes have a number of receivers, each of which focuses on a different part of the radio wave spectrum.

According to MeerKAT, the receivers would be built by the MPIfR and would operate in the S band of radio frequencies.

The S band is used by weather radar, surface ship radar, and some communications satellites to communicate with the space shuttle and the international space station. The radio waves of S band have frequencies that range from 2GHz to 4GHz.

Martin Stratmann, president of Max Planck Society (MPG), said, “We consider MeerKAT to be an important undertaking as it is a light-house project for science in Africa in general. The MPG is very pleased to enable close collaboration between its scientists and the South African community and looks forward to see MeerKAT’s first glimpse of the universe with the receivers of the MPIfR.”

South Africa’s minister of science and technology Naledi Pandor added that the investment was an endorsement of the excellence of the MeerKAT and the South African team that designed and was building it.

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