If you wanted a powerful telescope, you had to build it large. It is now possible to create a very powerful telescope by using multiple smaller antennae spread over a large area, which is how the event horizon telescope took the famous first image of a black hole.

The world's largest radio telescope will be located in South Africa and Australia. It will be able to see back to the early stages of the universe with a total receiving area of over a square kilometer.

One of the MeerKAT antennae.
One of the MeerKAT antennae. SARAO (South African Radio Astronomy Observatory)

The design principles for SKA need to be worked out before it can be used for scientific research. An array of 64 antennae in South Africa will become part of the SKAO system. The telescopes are usually part of an array. Astronomers at the headquarters of the SKAO at Jodrell Bank in the U.K. used data from 64 dishes to build up a large-scale picture of the sky.

The 64 antennae were used by the researchers to create maps of the sky. That shows that the array is able to bring together data from many different sources to look at the universe.

Steven Cunnington said that the detection was made with a small amount of pilot survey data. It is encouraging to imagine what will be achieved as the observations continue.

I have been trying to forecast the future capability of the SKAO for a long time. It's exciting to reach a stage where we can demonstrate our success with real data and develop the tools we need. This is the beginning of what we hope will be a continuous showcase of results that advance our understanding of the universe.

You can find the research on the archive arXiv.

There is a recommended video.