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The Murchison Radio-Astronomy Observatory (MRO)

The Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) is the home of the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). It will shortly also be the home of a significant part of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) itself (South Africa will also host part of the SKA). It is located in Western Australia’s Mid West, approximately 300km north east of the coastal city of Geraldton, within the Shire of Murchison. This outback region is roughly the size of the Netherlands with a resident population of around 140 people and a population density of around one person for every 350 sq.km. The centre of the 70 km radius circle defining the MRO is at S26o42’15”, E 116o39’32”. The MRO and the surrounding landscape are protected through federal legislation from any activities that might interfere with the operation of radio telescopes within 150km of the core site. The establishment of this ‘Radio Quiet Zone’ (RQZ) combined with a very low and sparse local population means the MRO is the perfect place for constructing and operating the most sensitive radio telescopes the world has ever seen.


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