SKA Observatory: exploring a universe of opportunities

09 August 2024 IAU General Assembly side event: Nerina & Protea CTICC 2
IAU General Assembly delegates are invited to attend a special, day-long event on Friday 9 August to hear the latest updates from the SKA Observatory (SKAO), the next-generation radio astronomy facility.

In collaboration with international partners, the SKAO is building two revolutionary new radio telescopes, one hosted in South Africa’s Northern Cape and one in Western Australia, which will undoubtedly transform our understanding of the Universe.
During the day-long event coinciding with Women’s Day in South Africa and International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, members of Team SKA will reveal the latest construction progress at both telescope sites and showcase how we are building partnerships with local and Indigenous communities to create long-term benefits for our local neighbours. We will also detail how the science community can already get involved as we prepare for science verification and early operations. This includes information on science timelines, what users can expect in areas such as telescope capabilities and access, the current tools available for the community, and updates on the development of the SKA Regional Centre network where users will access Observatory data products.
The packed day of talks and panel discussions will also encompass the current preparations for SKA science including an update on the Science Data Challenges; sustainability as a foundation for our activities; and opportunities to work for the SKAO.

Attendees will need to display their IAU General Assembly conference pass to access the event.

SKA Observatory: exploring a universe of opportunities timetable




10:30 - 10:35


Pontsho Maruping

10:35 - 10:50

SKAO overview

Sarah Pearce

10:50 - 11:05

Progress towards building and operating the SKA-Mid telescope in South Africa

Tracy Cheetham

11:05 - 11:20

Progress towards building and operating the SKA-Low telescope in Australia

Cathryn Trott


11:20 - 11:35

Partnering with Aboriginal communities in Australia

Jennylyn Hamlett

11:35 - 11:50

Up-skilling local communities through human capacity development programmes in South Africa

Nomfundo Makhubo 

12:00 - 1:30 



1:30 - 1:45

Timeline to science verification and cycle 0

Shari Breen

1:45 - 2:00

SKAO science operations: what users can expect

Sharmila Goedhart

2:00 - 2:15

How the community can get involved with the observatory

Nichol Cunningham

2:15 - 2:30

Update on the SKA Regional Centre Network

Rosie Bolton

2:30 - 2:45

Working for the SKAO

Sharmila Goedhart and Shari Breen

2:45 - 3:00



3:00 - 3:30

Coffee break 


3:30 - 3:45

SKA science 

Wendy Williams

4:00 - 4:15

Development of SKAO pipelines for observatory data product delivery

Danielle Fenech

4:15 - 4:30

Managing the delivery of the SKA telescopes

Nontobeko Mnyandu

3:45 - 5:00

Panel discussion 


Naomi McClure-Griffiths, Sarah Pearce, Shari Breen, Tracy Cheetham, Danielle Fenech, Rosie Bolton


End of day


We recognise and acknowledge the Indigenous peoples and cultures that have traditionally lived on the lands on which our facilities are located. In Australia, we acknowledge the Wajarri Yamaji as the Traditional Owners and native title holders of Inyarrimanha Ilgari Bundara, the CSIRO Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, the site where the SKA-Low telescope is being built.