Building started on MWA radio telescope

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BUILDING has started on the Murchison Wide-field Array (MWA) radio telescope in Western Australia, with local industry constructing the first major pieces.

The MWA is one of three Square Kilometre Array (SKA) precursors which will prove the technology n the path to the SKA.

Curtin University leads the Australian contribution to the $30 million project, which is being built by a consortium of around 13 institutions over four countries (Australia, USA, India and New Zealand).

Fremantle-based Poseidon Scientific Instruments (PSI) has been awarded a $1.3 million by Curtin to build receivers for the system. The complicated electronics of the receivers will be housed in weather-tight enclosures measuring 2m x 2m x 1m.

In addition to building the electronics, PSI has also developed an enclosure which is shielded from radio frequency interference.

PSI have built prototypes and now has the contract to produce the final system of 16 receivers.

The instrument will consist of 128 antennas connected to the 16 receivers in groups of eight. Those 128 antennas will be spread out over an area of about 3km.