Fun facts!

As at November 2021:

  • MWA archive currently has 36 PB of data which is equivalent to approx 36,000 home computers or over 1 million 32 GB iPads!
  • The MWA archive has the capacity to hold 1.8 million copies of Wikipedia (with room left over)! (Source:
  • The MWA network link to Perth is 100 Gbps which is the equivalent of 4,000 standard NBN home internet links!

Older facts taken from:

  • Located 370 km north-east of Geraldton (nearly 800 km from Perth) the MWA is situated in the Shire of Murchison, an area of approximately 50,000 square kilometres (19,300 square miles)(the size of the Netherlands) and has a population of 114 people.
  • The Murchison Widefield Array will pick up radio waves that have travelled between 8 minutes (the Sun) and more than 13 billion years (soon after the Big Bang) to reach Earth.
  • The telescope spans a 3 diameter kilometre area and is entirely static (no moving parts). It uses 2,048 dual-polarisation dipole antennas arranged into a strategic formation of 128 groups (16 dual-polarisation dipoles per group).
  • Each of these antennas has been constructed from a flat-pack style design and built in-situ at the MRO by a team of undergraduate students from Curtin University, known as the Student Army.
  • The telescope is considered low-cost, with each antenna costing approximately $3,000. Comparatively a high frequency dish telescope costs in the region of $500,000.
  • Radio waves collected from the sky are digitised, producing a new image of the sky every few seconds. These are then sent via high speed optical fibre, an early part of the National Broadband Network, to a processing and archiving facility over 700 kilometres away in Perth.
  • When operating at full capacity the telescope will produce the equivalent of a 2 hour long HD movie every 10 seconds (approximately 4 GB every 10 seconds). Now: Can produce 16GB/s, or 4 HD movies every 1 second, i.e. 40x more data!
  • The primary archiving facility is the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre. 
  • The 2012 numbers:
    • 5,030 person hours have been spent working on site, by 27 dedicated team members (including 130 hours by the Student Army, a team of 4 supervisors and 7 students from Curtin University) since January 2012 to ‘build’ the telescope
    • 7 km (4.3miles) of trenching has been dug
    • 10 km of low voltage electrical cable has been laid
    • 16 km of fibre optic cable has been laid – by hand
    • 42 km of coaxial cable has been dragged and laid- by hand
    • 9 tonnes of mesh (400 sheets) has been used to create the antenna bases – each lifted and placed by hand
    • 4,608 RF connectors have been used – each secured by hand
  • The "Solar tiles" added a LOT of optical fibre cables....DE to confirm