NCRA will organise a one-day workshop on "Indian participation in the SKA", on 16 February 2015, as a part of the ASI meeting at Pune.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the next generation radio telescope, has now entered the design stage for SKA phase-I, that will run till 2016-2017, after which SKA-I construction will start towards the end of 2017. Early science is expected to be possible from around 2020 or so. The SKA is a truly international telescope, with India being one of the eleven member countries in the SKA Organisation currently involved in the design of the SKA-I. At present, India is leading one of the ten design work packages for SKA-I. The SKA has already formed a number of international science working groups (SWGs) which are working towards achieving their long term science programs. Recently, a meeting titled "Advancing Astrophysics with the Square Kilometre Array" was held in Italy to update the science case.
During the last ASI meeting at IISER Mohali, a one-day workshop on "Science with the SKA" was organised, whose major outcome was formation of SWGs in India. These groups are expected to facilitate SKA-relevant scientific discussions within the Indian community, interact with the international SWGs of the SKA, organise training schools within India to get more people involved in SKA-related science and so on.
With the aim of taking this forward, we are organising a workshop involving the members of the SWGs and a number of other interested participants. The main objectives of the workshop would be : to get updates from the working group coordinators on their activities over the last one year, discuss the updated science case for SKA and decide on future plans. The workshop would consist of a number of (about 9-10) invited talks during the morning and early afternoon, followed by a discussion session.
We also plan to formally launch the SKA-India Consortium during this workshop. This consortium is aimed to become the steering body that will oversee the gamut of SKA related activities in the country over the next few years. More details about this will be communicated to the wider community in the near future.