The MeerKAT is a radio telescope. It is an array telescope. It is located in South Africa. The construction of MeerKAT began in 2003 and was launched in 2018. MeerKAT is the first phase of SKA. SKA is Square Kilometre Array. The SKA has four main components. They are Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array in South Africa, ASKAP (Australian SKA Pathfinder), and two radio telescopes in western Australia.
The MeerKAT is located in Karoo. Karoo is a semi-desert region in South Africa. And thus is named as Karoo Array Telescope.
It has 64 antennas. Each antenna is 13.5 metres in diameter. The antennas are equipped with cryogenic receivers. 61% of the antennas are located within one kilometre diameter circle and the rest 39% are located out to a radius of 4 km.
The data observed using MeerKAT is converted into digital form and transmitted to the Karoo Array Processor Building. The data to the building is carried by underground optic fibres. The data from here is then transmitted to an office in Cape Town.
The MeerKAT array telescope supports different modes such as spectral line imaging, deep continuum, pulsar timing, transient searches, etc.
In 2019, astronomers discovered balloon like structures above and below the centre of Milky Way galaxy.