Pre-SKA projects

Swiss astronomers are involved with the  following  projects or have been analysing the observations conducted on the following radio facilities.

BLEIEN Radio Telescope

Two historic radio telescopes in Bleien (Aargau) about 50 km south of Zurich are used for observations of dynamic solar radio flare, radio-monitoring and testing of high frequency components. A third instrument is observing extra-galactic radio transients with a horn-antenna and a modern FFT-spectrometer.


The BINGO experiment is a project to build a special purpose radio telescope to map redshifted neutral hydrogen emission between z = 0.13 and 0.48. It is an international project with collaborators in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Uruguay. It is the only radio telescope which aims at mapping neutral gas, as traced by the 21cm line, on large angular scales and at redshift z~0.3. We call this method HI intensity mapping. Using the Baryon Acoustic Oscillations (BAOs) as a standard ruler allows to measure the expansion of the universe as a function of redshift and so, to constrain the properties of dark energy.

Very Large Array (VLA)

The Very Large Array, one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories, consists of 27 radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. Each antenna is 25 meters (82 feet) in diameter. The data from the antennas is combined electronically to give the resolution of an antenna 36km (22 miles) across, with the sensitivity of a dish 130 meters (422 feet) in diameter.

A number of Swiss astronomers have used this facility for their science.


The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, or ASKAP, is CSIRO’s new radio telescope currently being commissioned at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) in Mid West region of Western Australia. Construction on ASKAP has been completed in 2012.

ASKAP’s combination of fast survey speed and high sensitivity will allow astronomers to answer some fundamental questions about the creation and early evolution of our Universe, and to test theories of cosmic magnetism and predictions from Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

ASKAP will also be an important technology demonstrator for the international SKA project.


The South African MeerKAT radio telescope, currently being built some 90 km outside the small Northern Cape town of Carnarvon, is a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope and will be integrated into the mid-frequency component of SKA Phase 1.  MerrKat will start science operation in 2017.

Some Swiss astronomers are associated to MerrKat observational projects.


The National Center for Radio Astrophysics of India has set up a unique facility for radio astronomical research using the metre-wavelengths range of the radio spectrum, known as the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), it is located at a site about 80 km north of Pune. GMRT consists of 30 fully steerable gigantic parabolic dishes of 45m diameter each spread over distances of up to 25 km. GMRT is one of the most challenging experimental programmes in basic sciences undertaken by Indian scientists and engineers.

A number of Swiss astronomers have used this facility for their science.

Other Radio Interferometers: NOEMA & ALMA

Swiss astronomers are regularly using the radio inferormeter working at milimeter wavelenghts: NOEMA and ALMA.

NOEMA is the radio interferometer of IRAM.

ALMA is the radio interferometer of ESO.