What is a radio telescope?
A radio telescope is quite different looking to an optical telescope. They look more like satellite receiver dishes than telescopes and this is because that’s sort of what they are. Instead of picking up visible light waves, they are designed to detect electromagnetic radiation at much lower frequencies – radio frequencies. As the name implies, radio waves we get from space are at the same frequency as the waves we humans use to broadcast radio, TV, phone signals etc.

Why is it called MeerKAT?
The KAT part stands for Karoo Array Telescope, because the telescope is an array of dishes found in the Karoo region of South Africa. The “meer” part is the Afrikaans word for “more”, as MeerKAT is an upgrade to the original KAT-7 (7 dishes). It is definitely a complete coincidence that meerkats, the incredibly cute animals, live in the area.

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Last Updated on April 13, 2023