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MeerKAT Science: On the Pathway to the SKA

25-27 May, 2016
Stellenbosch, South Africa
MeerKAT Science: On the Pathway to the SKA

MeerKAT is a next generation radio telescope under construction on the African SKA central site in the Karoo plateau of South Africa. When completed in 2017 MeerKAT will be a 64-element array of 13.5-m parabolic antennas distributed over an area with a diameter of 8 km. With a combination of wide bandwidth and field of view, with the large number of antennas and total collecting area, MeerKAT will be one of the world’s most powerful imaging telescopes operating at GHz frequencies.

MeerKAT is a science and technology precursor of the SKA mid-frequency dish array, and following several years of operation as a South African telescope will be incorporated into the SKA phase-one facility. The MeerKAT science program will consist of a combination of key science, legacy-style, large survey projects, and smaller projects based on proposals for open time. This workshop, which took place in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, was held to discuss and plan the broad range of scientific investigations that will be undertaken during the pre-SKA phase of MeerKAT. Topics covered included:

  • technical development and roll out of the MeerKAT science capabilities,
  • details of the large survey projects presented by the project teams,
  • science program concepts for open time,
  • commensal programs such as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence,
  • and the impact of MeerKAT on global Very Long Baseline Interferometry.
  • These proceedings serve as a record of the scientific vision of MeerKAT in the year before its completion, foreshadowing a new era of radio astronomy on the African continent.

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