India to join SKA Observatory as a full member.

India to join SKA Observatory as a full member.

This article covers ‘Daily Current Affairs’ and the topic details of ‘ India’s participation in the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Project .’ This topic is relevant in the “Science and Technology” section of the UPSC CSE exam.

UPSC Mains GS-3 Syllabus : Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology, Space Technology

Why in the News?

The Government of India has approved the participation of India in the international science project, Square Kilometre Array (SKA), at a cost of ₹ 1250 Cr. This clearance covers funds for the international SKA Observatory (SKAO) construction phase for the next seven years.

About SKAO

  • SKAO is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to the construction and operation of sophisticated radio telescopes. Its global headquarters are at the Jodrell Bank Observatory in the United Kingdom.
  • The SKAO is a network of thousands of antennas that will be deployed in remote areas of Australia and South Africa.
  • The SKA project will be built in two parts, the first of which began in December 2022 (SKA1).
  • SKA1 is scheduled to start operations in 2029.
  • The UK, Australia, South Africa, Canada, China, France, India, Italy, and Germany are among the countries involved in the SKA’s construction.

India’s participation in SKAO :

  • Since its inception in the 1990s, India has played an important part in the progress of the SKAO project, through the Pune-based National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) and other institutes.
  • Within the SKA, NCRA was given charge of the successful construction and operation of the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT).

Importance of SKA telescope :

It aspires to answer basic astrophysical, cosmological, and astrobiological problems. These include the origins of interstellar magnetism, the nature of dark matter and dark energy, and the search for extraterrestrial life. Some other questions scientists hoping to be answered by SKA are :

  1. The origins of the universe,
  2. The birth of the first stars
  3. A galaxy’s life span,
  4. Investigating the prospect of discovering technologically advanced civilizations elsewhere in our galaxy
  5. Tracing the origins of gravitational waves.
  • SKA Telescope Design and Features :
    A radio telescope’s essential components generally comprise a ‘big parabolic dish’ or a collection of smaller dishes that gather and focus incoming radio waves, a ‘receiver’ that converts radio waves into electrical signals, and a computer unit that processes and analyses the data. The dish or array is frequently installed on a moveable construction, allowing astronomers to position the telescope towards various portions of the sky.
  • In South Africa, the SKA will consist of 197 parabolic radio antennas.

What is a Radio telescope ?

  1. A radio telescope is a type of telescope that detects and collects radio waves emitted by celestial objects.
  2. Radio telescopes, as compared to optical telescopes, are designed to capture radio waves emitted by astronomical objects.
  3. The wavelengths of radio waves are longer than those of visible light, ranging from a few millimetres to several metres.
  4. Radio telescopes, contrary to optical telescopes, can be utilised both during the day and at night.
  5. Radio telescopes are essential for analysing astronomical phenomena like pulsars, quasars, galaxies, and cosmic microwave background radiation. They provide insightful data about the universe, particularly on radio-emitting objects and processes.
  6. Astronomers can examine celestial phenomena and processes that are not visible in the optical spectrum by observing in the radio frequency range.

Some major Radio Telescopes are :

  • Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) : China
  • Green Bank Observatory (GBT) : USA
  • Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) : India
  • Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) : Chile
  • Yevpatoria RT-70 : Ukraine

Conclusion :

India’s participation in the Square Kilometre Array Observatory project provides prospects for technological growth, worldwide cooperation, talent development, and a boost in India’s reputation in the international scientific community rather than just another tool for scientific exploration.

Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 9th Jan 2024


Prelims practice questions

Q1) When it comes to studying astronomical objects, what advantages do radio telescopes have against optical telescopes?

a. Improved resolution
b. The ability to see through clouds and interplanetary dust
c. Increased sensitivity to visible light
d. Increased magnification

Answer: B

Q2) What is the objective of a radio telescope’s “dish” or “parabolic reflector”?

A To improve radio signals
B To steer radio waves towards the receiver
C To produce radio signals
D To eliminate interference from the Earth’s atmosphere

Answer: B

Mains practice questions :

Q1) Examine the major contributions of the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India to astronomy. Discuss its unique features and capabilities.

Q2) What are the challenges and benefits of performing radio astronomy experiments in India, while taking into account considerations such as geographical position, interference, and collaborations with international observatories?

No Comments

Post A Comment