The praise of Napolitano: "SRT is a prestigious example of high and qualified specialisation in science and technology"
"A success resulting from the excellence expressed by the National Institute for Astrophysics and the Italian Space Agency with the invaluable support of the Ministry of Education, University and Research and the Region of Sardinia". These are the words contained in the message sent by the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, to the President of INAF Giovanni Bignami during the inauguration of the super telescope SRT, which took place on September 30 in Pranu Sanguini, in the municipality ofSan Basilio, in the province of Cagliari.
In addition to the Undersecretary of MIUR, Marco Rossi Doria, the ceremony was also attended by the President of the Sardinia Region Ugo Cappellacci, and the Chief scientist Enrico Flamini on behalf of ASI. "This large antenna opens up new perspectives for Italy - said Flamini - both for its importance in the field of radio astronomy research, and because it places us in the shortlist of nations able to communicate with the probes that explore the outermost planets of our solar system. In the field of antennas for deep space telecommunications, SRT is a bit like the Ferrari, you can’t pop to the shops every day, but when you want great performance, it’s just what it takes. There is still much to do to utilize its full potential, but we now know we can count on an extraordinary tool".
Designed for radio astronomy, geodynamic, and space science applications, the Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT) boasts record numbers: it is equipped with a primary mirror of 64 meters, with different focal positions and frequency coverage from 0.3 to 100 GHz.
The system was mainly financed by MIUR, ASI and by the Sardinia Region and will be used both to study the radio sources of the Universe and to operate as an Earth receiving station for interplanetary probes. The SRT project is part of a broad scientific, technological and higher education program in Sardinia and is configured as a high-profile international facility.
The challenging and spectacular assembly of the instrument was completed on site in 2011. After mechanical testing, the telescope saw first light on August 8, 2012, when it was pointed in the direction of the radio source Hydra A, and then towards a magnetar located in the centre of the Milky Way, which signal was recorded with high quality fidelity. In the coming years, researchers expect to make important discoveries with SRT on the nature and origin of the universe.
The ASI, which provides the telecommunications equipment to be integrated into the system and can use 20% of the antenna time for their own purposes, has contributed to the program with an amount of about 25% of the total cost.