Australian and New Zealand astronomers participate in numerous domestic and international science working groups and other collaborations that are preparing for the SKA telescope. These groups progress the SKA science case by preparing for the intended scientific activities of the telescope.
The OzSKA meeting, organised by CAASTRO, brings together Australian and international SKA participants to share information and updates on the SKA project and its science objectives. The second OzSKA meeting, OzSKA 2016, was held in April in Perth.
SPARCS coordinates the planning and radio astronomy survey activities for the SKA pathfinder telescopes. SPARCS aims to improve output and efficiency.
SPARC met for the fifth time in July 2015 in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Australian and New Zealand attendees included Glen Rees (Macquarie University/CSIRO), Ian Heywood (CSIRO), Josh Marvil (CSIRO), Minh Huynh (ICRAR/UWA), Nick Seymour (Curtin University) and Ray Norris (CSIRO). The 2016 event was held at the International Centre in Goa, India from 3-5 November.
PHISCC plans neutral hydrogen surveys that will be undertaken to answer some of the SKA's key scientific questions. These surveys, using the SKA Pathfinders or the SKA itself, will map the presence and evolution of neutral hydrogen in our galaxy and others.
PHISCC met in March 2015 in at the Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA. Australian and New Zealand attendees included David Blank (James Cook University), Bi-Qing For (ICRAR/University of Western Australia), Marcin Glowacki (University of Sydney), Megan Johnson (CSIRO), Martin Meyer (University of Western Australia), Danail Obreschkow (ICRAR), Se-Heon Oh (ICRAR), Jonghwan Rhee (ICRAR/UWA), Elaine Sadler (University of Sydney), Paolo Serra (CSIRO), Lister Staveley-Smith (ICRAR/UWA), and Tobias Westmeier (ICRAR/UWA).
The IPTA is a consortium of pulsar observing astronomy facilities, including Australia's Parkes Observatory. IPTA observes a defined group of very fast pulsars and looks for changes in the timing of the pulsars due to the effect of gravitational waves. Pulsar science and the observation of extreme gravitational effects are likely to be key science activities of the SKA when constructed.
The IPTA met in Parkes, Australia 20-31 July 2015. Over 20 Australian and New Zealand astronomers attended the meeting.
This three-day meeting in Tempe, Arizona, USA brought together members of the astronomical community to discuss early science results from low-frequency radio telescopes including MWA, PAPER, LOFAR, LWA, GMRT, CHIME and 21CMA.
Other SKA Science Meetings
In addition to the above science working groups, SKA scientists regularly meet to progress the science case of the SKA. These meetings and materials are noted below: