Students in South Africa from grades 4 to 11 are invited to enter a competition about the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The competition aims to raise awareness of South Africa’s bid to host SKA, which will be the world’s largest radio telescope.
Following lengthy site evaluation surveys, South Africa and Australia were short-listed as suitable sites for the SKA. Since then, both countries have engaged in public outreach activities to garner support for their bids. The final decision on the site is now imminent, with an announcement expected this spring.
Regardless of the final outcome, South Africa’s bid offers a fantastic opportunity to educate local children about its country’s world-class astronomical facilities. For example, the Karoo Array Telescope (MeerKAT) – a radio telescope that is a pathfinder to SKA – is already under construction in the Karoo region.
As part of these public outreach and education efforts, the South African Department of Science and Technology is now calling on students to enter a quiz about SKA. The competition involves a few multiple-choice questions about SKA, with different levels of difficulty for primary and high school students. Competition winners will receive some fantastic prizes to help further their interest in astronomy, such as laptops, printers, digital cameras and organised tours of local observatories.
The competition closes on 31 March 2012. Entry forms can be downloaded from the SKA South Africa website.