About MeerKAT

About the German contribution to the SKA precursor in South Africa

MeerKAT antenna construction
MeerKAT antenna (Credit: SKA South Africa)

MeerKAT is an array of 64, 13.5-metre diameter, parabolic dishes connected together as an interferometer and is operated by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). MeerKAT is built in South Africa's Karoo desert and is, currently,  the most powerful radio interferometer at centimeter wavelengths. MeerKAT complements other astronomical infrastructure in the southern hemisphere, such as, the ALMA and future telescopes, like, the E-ELT and the CTA. MeerKAT antennas are equipped with receivers in the L- and UHF-bands. Commissioning observations began in 2016 (MeerKAT First Light) and since the summer of 2018, MeerKAT started its full operation. This is a significant step forward in developing infrastructure, software and knowledge-base for the upcoming Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

German universities and research institutes involved in the exploitation of centimetre radio astronomy include:

  • Universität Bielefeld
  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie Bonn
  • Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
  • Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
  • Technische Universität Dortmund
  • Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik Garching
  • Universität Hamburg
  • Albert-Einstein-Institut Hannover
  • Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Technische Universität München
  • Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg
  • Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

The German MeerKAT-activities are cooordinated by the GLOW and are partially funded by the BMBF through the D-MeerKAT project.

MeerKAT Science

MeerKAT science is organised into survey projects wherein German scientists collaborate alongside international project teams.