Can we afford to overlook elephants in the room as we design and build SKA?

Rhodes University will be hosting the first series of workshops on the third-generation calibration (3GC3) in radio Astronomy in Africa at the Halyards Hotel, Port Alfred from 10-22 February 2013.

The workshop has attracted leading researchers worldwide from countries such as UK, Netherlands, Germany, US and Australia and brought them together with PhD students and young researchers from South Africa and other countries on the continent.

“The aim of the workshop is firstly to educate the younger scientists and secondly to provide a forum for leading experts to exchange ideas and techiniques,” says the Rhodes University Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Research Chair/Centre for Radio Astronomy Techniques and Technologies, Professor Oleg Smirnov.

He says the theme of the 3GC workshop is The Elephants In The Room. “By elephants, we refer to possible fundamental or practical limits on the scientific performance of upcoming radio telescopes,” says Prof Smirnov.

“With orders-of-magnitude increases in the sensitivities and fields-of-view of our instruments, some of these elephants may now be taking shape. Can we afford to overlook them as we design and build SKA?” he asked.

Rhodes University has recently established a Centre for Radio Astronomy Techiniques and Technologies (RATT) based on the SKA Research Chair in RATT. The University has placed itself in a position to become a leading South African research centre in this field. Prof Smirnov added that by “hosting the 3GC3 workshop is a natural extension of this initiative”.

3GC is catch phrase for calibration and imaging techniques and algorithms that are needed to deal with the problems and increased capabilities of the new crop of SKA pathfinder telescopes, and the SKA itself.

The themes of the previous two workshops were DDE calibration techniques (Nancay, France, 2009, and beamshape-related problems (Albufeira, Portugal, 2011,

The third workshop in South Africa is sponsored by Rhodes University, SKA SA and RadioNet.

Photo: Prof Oleg Smirnov

Photo by: Sophie Smith


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