The largest radioastronomy observatory in the world, SKAO, is born

Spain is among the participating countries in the SKA Observatory (SKAO), an intergovernmental organization that will open a new era in radioastronomy. The Minister of Science, Pedro Duque, has highlighted that it is a milestone that will revolutionize astronomy and other scientific and technological fields. Spanish participation in SKA is led by the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC)


Spain has participated this Thursday in the Council for the constitution of a new International Organization, which is the second dedicated to astronomy after the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The international radioastronomy observatory SKAO, which stands for Square Kilometer Array Observatory, is a new intergovernmental body that will be dedicated to the construction and operation, in South Africa and Australia, of the two largest and most complex radio telescopes conceived to date to study key questions about the universe.

During the last two decades, Spain has played an active role in the design phase of the Observatory with an important participation of the national scientific community in defining SKA science, an effort that has been included in a white paper on related scientific aspects with the new infrastructure published in 2015, and in which 120 scientists from more than 40 national institutions participated. In addition, our industry has played an important role, contributing to most of the infrastructure design consortia. All this estimated at approximately four million euros.

Spain's commitment for the construction of the Observatory is 41.4 million euros over the next ten years. Construction of the telescopes is expected to take eight years, with the first scientific results available in the middle of this decade. In addition to the advances that SKAO will bring to astronomy, its creation will be an important boost in many other areas, such as digital and communication technologies, supercomputing or big data, and will become a motor for the ecological transition and open science.


The Minister of Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque, has celebrated the constitution of the new observatory, underlining the involvement of Spain in the exhaustive study and design process. Likewise, he has highlighted that this is the beginning of a new stage for radioastronomy thanks to the construction of one of the most ambitious telescopes in the history of astronomy.

In addition, the minister stressed that Spain will actively participate in the new observatory, counting on a strategically positioned scientific community and a well-prepared industry.

Spanish participation in SKA is led by the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC). Lourdes Verdes-Montenegro, IAA researcher and coordinator of Spanish participation in the SKA, celebrates this milestone: "Today is an exciting day, since for years the Spanish scientific and engineering community has been contributing to our participation in its first Council, which makes us witnesses of a milestone for the recent history of astronomy and positions us in the face of the key scientific projects of the SKA. SKAO shows a strong commitment to the Green Deal and Open Science, as well as to the promoting equality and inclusiveness, and brings us one step closer, through international cooperation, to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals". The SKA project and the development of the prototype of the "SKA Regional Center (SRC)" have the support of the management and the Severo Ochoa program of the IAA, of whose strategic plan they form a fundamental part.





Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA-CSIC)
Unidad de Divulgación y Comunicación
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