The MeerKAT array consists of 64 receptors with 13.5 m diameter dishes, designed to achieve high sensitivity and imaging dynamic range, while providing an array and functionality to provide for a wide range of science.

The high sensitivity requirement drives the design to multiple octave band single pixel feeds with cryogenic cooling. A number of receivers are used to cover the required operating band. The receivers use Gifford-McMahon (GM) cryogenic cooling. The offset Gregorian dish configuration enhances sensitivity by providing high aperture efficiency and low spill-over temperature contribution. The offset Gregorian dish configuration also provides a clean optical path that can be designed to produce low overall sidelobe levels and azimuthal symmetry in the inner sidelobes to achieve high imaging dynamic range. Low sidelobe levels also provide good rejection of unwanted radio frequency interference from satellites and terrestrial transmitters. The array configuration is designed with two components: a compact core containing 70% of the dishes, and an extended array designed for high fidelity imaging performance over a range of resolutions. 

MeerKAT is a world class instrument in its own right, but is also serving as a precursor instrument for the SKA. The current plan is that MeerKAT will be merged into the SKA1-Mid array in the early 2020's.

The latest public version of the MeerKAT specifications and roll-out schedule is available here.

MeerKAT Antenna Concept (click to enlarge):

MeerKAT Array Configuration

MeerKAT's 64 dishes are distributed over two components:

  • A dense inner component containing 70% of the dishes. These are distributed in a two-dimensional fashion with a Gaussian uv-distribution with a dispersion of 300 m; a shortest baseline of 29 m and a longest baseline of 1 km.
  • An outer component containing 30% of the dishes. These are also distributed resulting in a two-dimensional Gaussian uv-distribution with a dispersion of 2 500 m and a longest baseline of 8 km.

See attached files for spreadsheet (longitude, latitude and name) and Google Earth placemark locations of the 64 MeerKAT antennas for Phase 1.

More information on the array specifications and roll-out schedule is available here.
Jasper Horrell,
Jan 26, 2012, 5:33 AM
Jasper Horrell,
Jan 26, 2012, 5:41 AM