Medicina Radio Astronomical Station

IRA - Institute of Radio Astronomy

INAF - National Institute for Astrophysics

IRA inside SKA Project

The SKA, Square Kilometre Array ( is a project that involves Italy, England, Holland, Sweden, China, Australia, Canada and South Africa, whose aim is the construction of a radio telescope that will be a hundred times more sensitive than any existing radio telescope. The SKA will allow new radio astronomers to observe the radio sky using a revolutionary tool. It consists in a huge number of substations distributed over an area of ​​three thousand kilometers in diameter between Australia and Africa.

Low Frequency Aperture Array (LFAA) represents only one element of the SKA. The basic configuration is represented by about 1024 stations located in the Australian outback near Perth. Every station is composed by an antennas sparse array. A part of them (250 antennas) will work at low frequency, between 50-650MHz and will be in double polarization.

The signal received by all the antennas (1025x250) will be conveyed in a single structure called CSP (Central Signal Processing) via analog fiber optics. CSP will include the second part of the receiving system: the signal acquisition and processing system.

The IRA ( INAF) is Work Package leader of the receivers system that is the amplification and filtering block placed between the Low Noise Amplifier output and the ADC input. In particular, Medicina Radio Astronomical Station staff is involved in a study of array implementation issues made with a prototype (called MAD, Medicina Array Demonstrator). It's also involved in studying of calibration methods, testing the new back-ends, and the related computation algorithms implementation.