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First mm-wave telescope in Africa

Observing as part of the Event Horizon Telescope Network will occupy up to 20% of the AMT’s time. Given the location of the other mm-wave telescopes in the network, the EHT makes its observations in March/April, as this is the time of the year when the precipitable water vapour is lowest for most of the observing sites. This leaves some 48 weeks of the year when the AMT will be able to do other science, unrelated to its EHT work.

Single dish science

The AMT team makes this 80% observing time available for the University of Namibia (UNAM), to develop their own science cases. Making use of the fact that the AMT will be the only mm-wave radio telescope on the African Continent, science cases are being developed on:

  • A survey of the sky visible from Gamsberg at 100 and 300 GHz;
  • Continuum emission from the Milky Way at 100 and 300 GHz
  • The inner parts of rotation curves of spiral galaxies to map the dark matter
  • Monitoring of Active Galactic Nuclei
  • Wide-field spectroscopic mapping
  • The Sunyaev-Zel’dovich (SZ) in low-redshift galaxy clusters

These science cases will be developed by the UNAM science team in close collaboration with the team at the RU.

The AMT as part of other long-baseline interferometry networks

A special science case is the possibility for the AMT to participate in existing or future networks, for intance the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. This is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with eventually over a square kilometer of collecting area with thousands of dishes and up to a million low-frequency antennas. South Africa will host the core of the high and mid frequency dishes, ultimately extending over the African continent, including Namibia. With some modifications, the AMT can be made suitable for the SKA network, making the realisation of a new, dedicated SKA telescope in Namibia obsolete.