The Square Kilometre Array: radio silence in Western Australia for most powerful telescope in history

poppageek
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Topic 198152

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On a former cattle farm in the remote outback, scientists are laying the ground for the biggest science project of the next 20 years: a radio telescope capable of picking out something like an airport radar on a planet in another solar system. Turn on your phone at your peril, because preserving radio quiet here is priority number one

Quote:
This is the kind of massive, generational, global scientific project – involving universities, science agencies, private companies, a host of governments – that takes decades to come about, and can come to define departments, careers, national identities, science itself. In Australia alone, the project involves so many different groups and so many different acronyms that it can take a while to get your head around it all, but this, all the scientists say, is the nature of large, international endeavours. “It is complex,†says Dr Jill Rathborne, a CSIRO astronomer. But it’s also “awesomeâ€.

Quote:

Companies such as Cisco and IBM are keenly interested in SKA and that’s because of the data, and what will be needed to crunch it. Once SKA is fully up and running, it will produce more information each day than the whole of the internet had produced until very recently.

Given that no computer exists that will be able to deal with the volume of what SKA will produce, the success of the project rests on the continuing robustness of Moore’s law: that every 18 to 24 months computer processing power will double.

Moore’s law is quoted very often by the project team. The universe needs to keep bending a knee to it if the data from SKA is going to be of any use to us.

It may sound like a massive leap of faith to a non-scientist, preparing to gather data with no way yet to analyse it, but as Morgan says: “If we built it for a computer we have today, we’ll be selling ourselves short ... massively short. You have to look at the trends, very stable trends on how computers are progressing.â€

New CSIRO boss Larry Marshall says scientists must think like entrepreneurs
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There will be far too much data for it all to be simply recorded. The plan is to “use an algorithm to reduce that data down to a smaller magnitude that you can then process further on a super computerâ€, Morgan says. The detail obviously hasn’t been worked out yet, but “at some point we’ll switch this thing on and it’ll take us a long time to see how it worksâ€.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/17/the-square-kilometre-array-radio-silence-in-western-australia-for-most-powerful-telescope-in-history

Would seem perfect for a distributed computing project.

Article covers a lot of info.

Mike Hewson
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RE: ....use an algorithm

Quote:
....use an algorithm to reduce that data down to a smaller magnitude that you can then process further on a super computer ...


Yes. Indeed. Hmmm ... now is anyone actually doing that already now? Let me think .... I wonder who that might be .... :-)

I note the concern about cows knocking up the hardware when the SKA becomes rather larger than now. I have a unique Australian solution : we have no shortage of really deadly snakes, just breed up a large number and drop them in! :-)

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

poppageek
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I am more inclined to go with

I am more inclined to go with "beef on the barbie". :P

Mike Hewson
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RE: I am more inclined to

Quote:
I am more inclined to go with "beef on the barbie". :P


Not mutually exclusive really. Drop them with a snake. The cooking will destroy the venom .... :-)

Oooops. Didn't think that through very well ( like most Aussie solutions). On second thoughts : you'd get a ton of scavengers turning up looking for a free feed ( like most Aussie BBQ's ). The whatya do about the goannas mate? Of course the pastoralists ( who own the cattle ) may object. Free for all punch up in no time ..... not forgetting the camels too.

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Mike Hewson
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It occurs to me that a

It occurs to me that a restricted fly zone of some suitable radius and to height over the site's centre would also be of great merit too. Especially light planes going low, as the magnetos do pack a wallop of current bursts that would be an extreme broadband nuisance. Not to mention all the radio stuff, radar transponders especially. I fear it could be a worry as the array would be well liked to have a look at overhead by sightseers, lovely geometry etc.

Currently such zones are only associated with military air facilities, plus the usual spaces around civilian air traffic controlled airports. But of note is that there is much civilian traffic of importance in Western Australia ( unrelated to tourism ) for routine purposes. It's a very big space and the lighter modes of air travel is very handy way to get around.

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

Jim1348
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Just let it be known that the

Just let it be known that the site receives radiation from outer space, and it will be clear for 100 miles around.

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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RE: Just let it be known

Quote:
Just let it be known that the site receives radiation from outer space, and it will be clear for 100 miles around.


LOL! :-)

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

poppageek
poppageek
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RE: It occurs to me that a

Quote:

It occurs to me that a restricted fly zone of some suitable radius and to height over the site's centre would also be of great merit too. Especially light planes going low, as the magnetos do pack a wallop of current bursts that would be an extreme broadband nuisance. Not to mention all the radio stuff, radar transponders especially. I fear it could be a worry as the array would be well liked to have a look at overhead by sightseers, lovely geometry etc.

Currently such zones are only associated with military air facilities, plus the usual spaces around civilian air traffic controlled airports. But of note is that there is much civilian traffic of importance in Western Australia ( unrelated to tourism ) for routine purposes. It's a very big space and the lighter modes of air travel is very handy way to get around.

Cheers, Mike.

Can you imagine trying to keep things quiet around Green Bank? :-o

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Bank_Telescope

AgentB
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RE: RE: It occurs to me

Quote:
Quote:

It occurs to me that a restricted fly zone of some suitable radius and to height over the site's centre would also be of great merit too. Especially light planes going low, as the magnetos do pack a wallop of current bursts that would be an extreme broadband nuisance. Not to mention all the radio stuff, radar transponders especially. I fear it could be a worry as the array would be well liked to have a look at overhead by sightseers, lovely geometry etc.

Currently such zones are only associated with military air facilities, plus the usual spaces around civilian air traffic controlled airports. But of note is that there is much civilian traffic of importance in Western Australia ( unrelated to tourism ) for routine purposes. It's a very big space and the lighter modes of air travel is very handy way to get around.

Cheers, Mike.

Can you imagine trying to keep things quiet around Green Bank? :-o

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Bank_Telescope

I remember reading a few years ago when the SKA bids were being made about Radio Quiet Zones, as the sensitivity is incredible. The planned nofly and RQZ around the SKA must be quite large.

Green Bank is located in US RQZ

I had a quick look for SKA and could not find any details, but for the precursor of SKA (ASKAP) in West Australia several years ago they published a FAQ

Quote:

Arc welding activity will be detectable by the radio telescopes if the equipment is within 25 km of any of the MRO boundaries

and goes on to mention mustering within 30Km and flying within 1 nautical mile, have an impact.

*Edit: For the lowest frequency range, the RQZ extends to 260 km from the MRO.

I chuckled about the "Does the RQZ make a difference to future shed design (that is, open side away from the MRO)?"

Mike Hewson
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RE: I chuckled about the

Quote:
I chuckled about the "Does the RQZ make a difference to future shed design (that is, open side away from the MRO)?"


You could do all the welding you like in a Faraday cage!

I was so disappointed when our cheap**** government knocked back the terrific LIGO offer in 2011. More power to India though, clearly more forward thinking there. With one thing and another we were pretty well going to get it for nix over the course of the funding agreement - a mere $30M per year for a decade IIRC. It would have been a great boon to science DownUnda. So this SKA has cheered me up ! :-)

Cheers, Mike.

( edit ) This is why countries like Australia really do need benign dictators such as I could be. Science funding .... no problem .... I just can't figure out why I haven't yet been offered this role .... :-) :-)

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

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