Discover SKA: The World’s Biggest Telescope

Call for partners and collaborators for our major public outreach campaign

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope is the most exciting and significant scientific project currently underway in the world and it is time for the Australian people to find out all about it. The anzSKA and Inspiring Australia teams need your help to make this happen.

The proposed SKA will be 50 times larger than any other existing radio telescope. The SKA will become the cornerstone observatory for world radio astronomy, providing 10 000 times the discovery capability of current technologies.

The SKA is a global ‘mega-science project’, on par with the Large Hadron Collider in its scientific significance.

Australia and New Zealand (A-NZ) have been shortlisted along with Southern Africa as potential sites to host the SKA, with a site decision due in early 2012.

In support of the Australia and New Zealand Square Kilometre Array (anzSKA) bid to host the SKA, the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR) invites you to participate in ‘Discover SKA: The World’s Biggest Telescope’ – the official SKA public outreach project.

Inspiring possibilities

This project seeks to excite and inspire all Australians and New Zealanders with the idea that, together, our nations are ready, willing and able to host the SKA, one of the largest and most ambitious science projects ever devised.

The outreach project will be delivered as part of the Inspiring Australia national strategy for science communication and will aim to incorporate 500 events across Australia and New Zealand between 1April and 30 June 2011. It will raise public awareness and understanding of the significance of the SKA project and the global benefits it will provide – not only to astronomy, but to industry, education and technology development.

It will generate pride in Australia and New Zealand’s achievements in science, and highlight that an Australia – New Zealand based SKA would provide maximum benefits for the world.

It will also inspire wonder about the ‘big questions’ that the SKA seeks to answer:

o What else is out there?

o How are galaxies formed?

o What happened after the big bang?

o Was Einstein right?

o Why are there giant magnetic fields in space?

The project is being coordinated by Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre (a division of DIISR), and the New Zealand Fonterra Science Roadshow, with assistance from CSIRO.

Be part of the excitement

We are seeking partnership and collaboration to support the project’s ambitious goal that by June 2011 75% of Australians and New Zealanders will have heard of the SKA.

This project provides an opportunity for organisations around Australia to share in the growing excitement around the SKA and join with our nations’ science, government, industry and education leaders in highlighting the significance and benefits of the SKA project to our communities. We invite you to show your support for the anzSKA bid by hosting events or activities in April-June 2011 as part of the outreach project.

How to get involved

There are many ways to get involved in the SKA public outreach project. Some suggestions are below, along with examples of the support available for each event type.

* Existing events: Consider if any public events or programs already scheduled could be used to raise awareness of the SKA, and simultaneously benefit from being part of this national outreach project. For example, at scientific meetings or symposia, or ‘hot topic’ briefings.

o Internal events: For example, host a morning tea and invite a relevant guest speaker and provide SKA promotional materials to attendees.

o Industry briefing sessions: For example, a breakfast briefing to highlight the benefits of the SKA project to your industry sector and stakeholders (e.g. IT, green energy, engineering).

o General public events: Interactive events are always popular, such as astronomy viewing evenings, public lectures, open days or special visits. Or get creative and host a music or arts event with an astronomical twist.

o School events: Hold a school community movie evening, featuring Scinema science films or space-themed movies, or invite a guest speaker to speak to school science classes.

o Spread the word: Circulate this document to your members and networks and encourage collaboration for events with broader reach and greater impact.

Questacon, CSIRO and the Fronterra Roadshow (NZ) will also be hosting a series of public events, lending their brand of quality engagement to the project.

Support for event holders

A suite of branded information and promotional materials will be available to event holders from early 2011, along with assistance in accessing relevant guest speakers if required. All events will be displayed on a web-based calendar to highlight the range of events and organisations involved in this exciting initiative.

The public outreach project will be supported by a comprehensive domestic media campaign, providing the backdrop on some occasions for major media announcements or providing locally-focussed content for events in regional communities. A media kit will be provided to event holders to assist with promotion to local media.

This is an unsurpassed opportunity to engage communities, school students, business and industry with the opportunities the SKA presents to science and the world, and to generate pride in Australia and New Zealand’s scientific prowess.

Table: Support available for event holders

Event Type

Logos and branding

Information resources (e.g. fact sheets, brochures, multimedia presentations)

Educational resources

Assistance with guest speakers

Media kit

Existing events





Internal events





Industry briefing sessions





General public events





School events







To register your early interest or intent to hold an event as part of this SKA public outreach project, or for further information, please contact:

Annie Harris

SKA Public Outreach Project Coordinator

Questacon Division

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Ph 02 6270 2875

Fax 02 6270 2808


We look forward to your involvement in this exciting initiative.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Durant


Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

************************************************************************* The information contained in this e-mail, and any attachments to it, is intended for the use of the addressee and is confidential. If you are not the intended recipient you must not use, disclose, read, forward, copy or retain any of the information. If you received this e-mail in error, please delete it and notify the sender by return e-mail or telephone.

The Commonwealth does not warrant that any attachments are free from viruses or any other defects. You assume all liability for any loss, damage or other consequences which may arise from opening or using the attachments.

The security of emails transmitted in an unencrypted environment cannot be guaranteed. By forwarding or replying to this email, you acknowledge and accept these risks. *************************************************************************

_______________________________________________ ASC-list mailing list

Leave a Reply