Read our COVID-19 research and news.

International Mega-Telescope Project Gears Up at U.K. Observatory

The nine-nation, $1.5 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project to build the world's biggest and most sensitive radio telescope has established a governing board and will set up its project office at the Jodrell Bank Observatory near Manchester, U.K.

The new management structure and digs should support a variety of new activities, says

The [new office], which is hoped to grow to 60 people over the next four years, will supersede the existing SKA Program Development Office (SPDO) currently based at the University of Manchester. The move to Jodrell Bank Observatory is scheduled for 1 January 2012.

Professor Richard Schilizzi, Director of the SKA, says: "The move to Jodrell Bank Observatory comes at a crucial time as the project grows from a concept to an international mega-science project. The new location and facilities will support the significant expansion that is planned."

Next year, the project will announce where the megascope itself will be based. Australia/New Zealand is one proposed site; South Africa is the other.