17-01-2012African radio astronomy "ready for takeoff"

Recently established collaboration between the EU and Africa is set to unleash huge potential for radio astronomy in Africa, according to a recent article on aerospace-technology.com.

Africa offers competitive and strategic advantages for the science of radio astronomy, with access to the Southern skies (which see further into the galaxy) and large territories undisturbed by light pollution or radio-interference. Moreover, as a developing region, it offers the affordability of land, labour and services that are not available in otherwise comparable regions. The absence of seismic activity is another positive, as is the presence of an academic infrastructure to support scientific and technological initiatives in many countries. Southern African nations already host some of the world's most exciting astronomy facilities, including the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in South Africa and the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS) in Namibia. The former is also building one of the world's largest radio telescope arrays. MeerKAT, an array of 64 telescopes, is due for completion in 2015 and is already subject to great demand by the international astronomy community.

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