Science and technical opportunities in the SKA era
Place:Sede del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC (C/ Serrano 121)
Organizer:Jose C. Guirado
Scope of the meeting:
The Square Kilometre Aray (SKA) will be a telescope with one square kilometre of collecting area. SKA main motivation is to develop a telescope able to provide two orders of magnitude increase in sensitivity over existing facilities at metre to centimetre wavelengths. To achieve this goal will require – providing 50 times the sensitivity compared to the Very Large Array (VLA). The SKA has been designed as an aperture synthesis instrument with separations between antennas larger than 3000 km. The SKA will also have a very large field-of-view (FOV). The goal is an FOV at low frequencies below 1 GHz of 200 square degrees, and an FOV of more than 1 square degree at higher frequencies. The combination of very large FOV with enormous sensitivity means that the SKA will provide a revolution in the way that we explore the Universe. Given the capabilities above, the SKA is not intended as an exclusive instrument for radioastronomers.
Accordingly, the key science projects that will adress important scientific questions in astronomy over the next decades:
• KSP1: Probing the Dark Ages – the first black holes & stars
• KSP2: Evolution of galaxies, cosmology, dark matter and energy
• KSP3: The origin & evolution of cosmic magnetism
• KSP4: Extreme tests of general relativity with pulsars and black holes
• KSP5: The Cradle of Life – searching for life and planets
The SKA is included in the priority list of scientific facilities from the ESFRI (Europea Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures). This should be enough indication about the potential of the SKA for fundamental breakthroughs in a wide range of astronomy/physics fields.
The increasing importance of the SKA as one of the key next generation instruments offers a unique opportunity for the participation of the Spanish astronomical community. There is a clear need to provide detailed information of the meaning and impact of the SKA. Our community owns the expertise and capabilities to joint this ongoing effort, both in the scientific and the technical side.
In this two-day meeting, we plan to cover all aspects on SKA and its impact in astronomy: organization, design, techniques, key science projects, SKA pathfinders (ASKAP, MeerKAT, LOFAR), synergies with other instruments in the SKA era, etc. We expect to bring scientist with first-hand knowledge in every area of the SKA. Their visions on the above-mentioned aspects of the SKA will enrich the discussion about the possibilities and opportunities associated to this project.
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