Gallery: the KAT-7 radio telescope

Compiled and photographed by Janine Erasmus

South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope, one of the most important scientific instruments ever constructed, is gaining ground. At the proposed SKA site in the remote Northern Cape province, the seven-dish KAT-7 – precursor to the MeerKAT, which is precursor to the SKA – is the world’s first radio telescope array consisting of fibreglass dishes.

The instrument has already delivered images of the Centaurus A, a galaxy 14-million light years away.

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KAT7 radio interferometer

The vast, flat Karoo plains are perfect for construction of the SKA.

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

Sociable weaver nest.

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KAT7 radio interferometer

The SKA site complex from afar.

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

This little trailer contains instrumentation
that was used in the determination of
the area’s radio quietness.

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KAT7 radio interferometer

Mould of the KAT-7 dish. All seven dishes were
made on site, and the facility will be expanded
to accommodate the larger MeerKAT dishes.

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KAT7 radio interferometer

The remote control room is located in a
shielded container, to minimise the emission
of radio waves.

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KAT7 radio interferometer

The trailer used to take the dishes to
the KAT-7 site, about 1km down the road.

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

On-site control room in a shielded container.

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KAT7 radio interferometer

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KAT7 radio interferometer

The final development of the highly
configurable Roach board, used extensively
in the hardware, was carried out in
South Africa.

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