Information on the SKA precursor telescope

MeerKAT Array

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

MeerKAT is being built in South Africa as the most powerful radio interferometer at centimeter wavelengths. MeerKAT closes the spectral coverage gap between LOFAR and ALMA, and it complements the astronomical infrastructure in the southern hemisphere which will include E-ELT and CTA. The MeerKAT telescope consists of 64 antennae with receivers in the L- and UHF-bands. MeerKAT will start regular observations with all 64 antennas in 2018. Commissioning observations started in 2016 (MeerKAT First Light).

German Contribution

The MPIfR Bonn contributes S-band receivers to MeerKAT. For a development beyond the current configuration of MeerKAT the Max-Planck Society together with MT Mechatronics will construct a prototype antenna (with L, S, and Ku band receivers) that will be available for astronomical observations.

A consortium of German universities and research institutes is currently about to form in order to contribute to the exploitation of MeerKAT. The German MeerKAT consortium includes:

  • 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 planned German contributions will consist of developments of data management structures (big data), software pipelines, and contributions to the characterization of the prototype antenna.

MeerKAT Science

MeerKAT science is organised in survey projects; German scientists collaborate within the international project teams.