SKA sensitivity calculators

We are excited to announce the release of the first versions of the SKA Low and Mid sensitivity calculators. This first version of the calculators includes both continuum and spectral calculations (including zoom modes), and we invite the community to use them and provide feedback while we implement the full suite of SKA observing modes. As we strive for high levels of usability and accessibility, we are especially keen to hear feedback on your experiences in these areas.

The SKA Low and Mid sensitivity calculators enable astronomers to estimate the theoretical sensitivity for all supported observing modes with the SKA telescopes. In the first release, the calculators support two observing modes: Continuum and zoom/spectral line imaging modes. Additional observing modes, like the pulsar/tied-array beam mode, will be incorporated in future releases. The calculators can also estimate the synthesized beam sizes for specific subarray configurations and visibility weighting schemes.

Since SKA Low is an aperture array with electronic beamforming, the telescope's sensitivity depends on the pointing direction and varies as the source moves across the station beam. The Low sensitivity calculator takes the direction-, LST-, and frequency-dependent effects into account following the procedure described in Sokolowski et al. (2022).

The sensitivity calculators and the corresponding user guides can be accessed using the links below:

We will normally host the calculator user guides on the SKAO website. However, just for this first release, we make it public as a Google document to encourage inline comments from the wider community.

We encourage feedback from the SKA users community, ideally addressed to


Last modified on 05 December 2023