[ASA] Australian SKA Director's periodic update [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Boyle, Brian Brian.Boyle at industry.gov.au
Thu Oct 16 16:21:32 AEDT 2014

Dear ASA members

Australian SKA Director's Update

October 2014

It was a pleasure to attend the 2014 SKA Engineering Conference at Fremantle from 29 Sept - 2 Oct. A great deal of progress has been made on the SKA design since last year's meeting in Manchester. The challenge remaining for the SKA Organisation will be to ensure the collected material is sufficiently complete and comprehensive (particularly at the interfaces between work packages) to deliver a robust re-baselined design over the coming 5-6 months.

The science prioritisation has yielded an exciting set of science priorities. I strongly support the breadth of the priorities as appropriate for a facility of this scale servicing a global community; balancing risk versus return as we embark on the first stage of the SKA.

Another highlight of the SKA Engineering Conference was the opening of the Shared Sky exhibition featuring art from the indigenous peoples of both the Mid West of WA and the Karoo region of South Africa. It will be on display at the John Curtin Gallery in Curtin University until 2 November and I would encourage everyone to visit if they get an opportunity.  After that, it heads off on its world-wide tour.  First stop, South Africa.

Out at Australia's SKA site, ASKAP commissioning continues and a new image covering 50 square degrees of the sky has been produced with the first six ASKAP dishes, demonstrating the telescope's rapid survey capability. MWA continues to reach milestones with the MWA Commissioning Survey, a catalogue of more than 14,000 radio sources over 6,100 square degrees of sky, being accepted for publishing.

Environmental surveys of Australia's site have been completed, giving us a more comprehensive understanding of the flora and fauna communities present and helping us protect the site's environmental values. Preliminary findings suggest SKA infrastructure will have minimal impact on these communities.

This week I am attending the SKA Board meeting in China where, in addition to the science and engineering developments, the Board will also discuss progress on the Observatory Agreement (Treaty) and other policy matters. Good progress is being made on the Treaty documentation and I believe the Organisation can look forward to engaging fully with governments in 2015 as elements of the policy, design and operational plan come together.

Best regards


Prof Brian J Boyle PSM FAA
SKA Project Director
Australian Square Kilometre Array Office
Department of Industry
Level 9, 10 Binara Street, Canberra City ACT 2601
GPO Box 9839, Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: +61-2-6102 8943
Mob: +61 499 848 844
Email: brian.boyle at industry.gov.au<mailto:brian.boyle at industry.gov.au>
Internet: www.ska.gov.au<http://www.ska.gov.au>


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