Switzerland also chooses the SKAO international observatory

Switzerland also chooses the SKAO international observatory

Bern has decided to join the world's most sensitive radio telescope for studying the formation of stars and primordial galaxies

Rendering of the telescope array of the "Square Kilometer Array Observatory" (SKAO) consortium
Rendering of the telescope network of the “Square Kilometer Array Observatory” (SKAO) consortium

The "Square Kilometer Array", the most sensitive radio telescope of the 21st century, will be used to study the formation of primordial stars and galaxies.
The radio telescope is managed by the international organization "Square Kilometer Array Observatory" (SKAO).
Following the Parliament's decision to allocate the funds required for full participation until 2030, the Federal Council decided on 17 December for Switzerland to join SKAO.
In 2020, the Federal Assembly approved a guarantee credit of 2021 million francs for membership of the international organization SKAO as part of the ERI Dispatch 2024–8,9.
However, an analysis conducted by SERI in collaboration with companies and research institutes interested in the project has shown that only full membership in this infrastructure would guarantee Switzerland a satisfactory return on investment.

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The SKAO consortium is based at the Jodrell Bank astronomical observatory in the UK
The SKAO consortium is based at the Jodrell Bank astronomical observatory in the UK

There is a further 24,7 million francs of authorized credit

In order for Switzerland to be able to participate in the construction and operation of the SKAO until 2030, the Federal Council has asked Parliament to supplement the already authorized loan with an additional CHF 24,7 million.
The increase was granted in December 2021. On 17 December, the Federal Council therefore decided on Switzerland's membership of the SKAO, which will be made official as soon as possible.
Participation in international research infrastructures gives researchers in Switzerland direct access to the latest experiments and data.

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Rendering of the antenna network of the "Square Kilometer Array Observatory" (SKAO) consortium
Rendering of the antenna network of the “Square Kilometer Array Observatory” (SKAO) consortium

A consortium led by the UK, Australia and South Africa

While the large international research infrastructures in which Switzerland participates are generally run by a strong European consortium, SKAO is led and funded by three large Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Australia and South Africa.
The Square Kilometer Array Observatory (SKAO) is an international observatory based at Jodrell Bank, UK, with reception facilities in Australia and South Africa.
The "Square Kilometer Array" (SKA) is the most sensitive radio telescope of the 21st century and is managed by the international organization SKAO. It will make it possible to study the formation and evolution of the first stars and galaxies, thus opening the door to groundbreaking discoveries in understanding the universe.
With the SKA it will also be possible to carry out research on the function of cosmic magnetism, the nature of dark matter, the forms of life in the universe, dark energy and gravity.

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The map of countries adhering in various forms to the SKAO Consortium in June 2021
The map of countries adhering in various forms to the SKAO Consortium in June 2021