New German astrophysics centre spells good news for SKA telescopes

on 29 September 2022
The German astronomy and astroparticle physics community have been awarded funding in a competitive process to set up a new large-scale research centre dedicated to astrophysics in Lusatia, Saxony.

Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, and the Minister Presidents of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, and Saxony-Anhalt, Dr Reiner Haseloff, announced the decision on 29 September at a media conference.

The Deutsches Zentrum für Astrophysik (DZA) will open new horizons for the country’s scientists by enabling top-level astronomical research, the processing of gigantic data streams from next-generation telescopes such as the SKA, and the development of novel technology.

“I am thrilled by this fantastic news!” said Prof. Michael Kramer, director of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and president of the German Astronomical Society, a proponent of the proposal. 

“By fostering the development of new technologies, data processing, and high-performance computing techniques, this new centre will provide a gateway for enhancing German participation in large-scale international astrophysics projects such as the SKA Observatory.”

The SKAO’s Director-General, Prof. Philip Diamond, congratulated his German colleagues on their successful proposal. “We regard the creation of a national centre for astrophysics in Germany as a promising milestone for the German community and our observatory. 

“The compelling DZA proposal goes a long way towards strengthening SKA-relevant activities in the country and will undoubtedly boost Germany’s participation in the SKA project. We look forward to exploring and understanding the mysteries of the cosmos together.”

Germany is a prospective member country of the SKAO, having participated in planning and designing the SKA telescopes for several years.

Architectural drawing of the DZA
An architectural drawing of the proposed Deutsches Zentrum für Astrophysik (DZA)

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