Square Kilometre Array

SKA dishes in South Africa

This artists rendition of the SKA-mid dishes in Africa shows how they may eventually look when completed. The 15m wide dish telescopes, will provide the SKA with some of its highest resolution imaging capability, working towards the upper range of radio frequencies which the SKA will cover. Credit: SKA organisation

What is SKA ?

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a large multi radio telescope project spread out over two sites that will be located in Australia and South Africa. As the next-generation radio astronomy facility, the SKA will revolutionize our understanding of the Universe, astronomy and the laws of funademental physics.

SKA will operate over a wide range of frequencies and its collecting area of approximately one square kilometre will make it 50 times more sensitive than any other radio telescope.

It will require very high performance computing engines and long-haul links with a capacity greater than the current global Internet traffic.

SKA will be able to survey the sky more than ten thousand times faster than ever before, opening a new window in radio to study transient phenomenon in the universe.

With receiving stations extending out to a distance of at least 3,000 kilometres from a concentrated central core, it will exploit radio astronomy’s ability to provide the highest resolution images in all astronomy.

The SKA will be built in the southern hemisphere, at two locations in South Africa and Australia, where the view of the Milky Way Galaxy is best and radio interference least.

The SKA will be built in two phases, with Phase 1 (2018-2023) representing about 10% of the capability of the whole telescope. Phase 1 of the SKA was cost-capped at 650 million euros in 2013, while Phase 2’s cost has not yet been established.

In 2019, the representatives of seven countries signed the treaty to establish the SKA as an intergovernmental organisation, and several other countries have expressed their intention to join the organisation. The headquarters of the project are located at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, in the UK.

In April 2020, the EPFL became a member of the SKA Organisation (SKAO) and will coordinate the contributions to this project on behalf of the Swiss academic community.

In May 2022 Switzerland officially joined the SKAO. Find out more on the official website:


See press releases below for further details:

EPFL news feed

ENG: EPFL joins the giant radio telescope SKA for the Swiss Community

FR: L’EPFL devient membre du projet de radiotélescope géant SKA au nom de la communauté scientifique Suisse

DE: Die EPFL beteiligt sich im Interesse der Schweiz am riesigen SKA-Teleskop


SKA project key information:

Blog post from Pierre Brisson (in French): Le télescope SKA un projet pharaonique exaltant qui pose des défis à hauteur de son ampleur

Video: The SKA – A new observatory to explore the Universe