The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) enables excellent radio astronomy. The radio telescope links two sites in South Africa and Australia with a distance of more than 3000 kilometers. It thus enables images in particularly high resolution. This intelligent and world-leading concept is based on a successful international collaboration. It combines brilliant know-how from South Africa, Germany and other countries with the goal of outstanding science that achieves new breakthroughs in research. The telescope array will enable a new level of astronomy with new details about galaxies, stars and interstellar matter.
In addition to science, society benefits. Astronomy is a major driver of new technological solutions - especially in engineering, optics, precision engineering and computer science. As a result, astronomy is also setting new directions in the education of STEM professionals.
In addition to the sites in South Africa and Australia and the headquarters in the United Kingdom, the SKAO so far also includes China, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland as members. Observers are France, India, Japan, Canada, Spain, South Korea and Sweden.
German Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger said:
"With the unique Square Kilometre Array Observatory supertelescope, we are embarking on a new era of astronomy. We want to overcome borders with it, of knowledge and also of countries. That is why we have decided that Germany will join the international organization SKAO. In doing so, we are bringing over thirty years of negotiations, planning and development to a successful conclusion. And we are enabling new research and discoveries on galaxies, stars, distant planets and interstellar matter. This advances our excellent science, as well as computing, data management, and STEM education. Basic research becomes a technology driver here."
Prof. Martin Stratmann. President of the Max Planck Society, added:
"The Max Planck Society welcomes and supports the announcement of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to join the Square Kilometre Array Observatory. In collaboration with other German institutions and industry, the Max Planck Society has been involved in many aspects of SKA - from science to technical realization - and has once again proven that it is an internationally recognized and reliable partner. The MPG looks forward to the next chapter of German participation in SKA."