The Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT, Lat. 39.4930N - Long. 9.2451E) is a major radio astronomical facility almost ready for outstanding scientific observations.
It represents a flexible instrument for Radio Astronomy, Geodynamical studies and Space science, either in single dish or VLBI mode. SRT combines one of the largest steerable collecting area all over the World with state-of-the-art technology to enable high efficiency up to the 3-mm frequency band. The optical system is based on a quasi-Gregorian dish antenna with mirrors shaped to minimize the standing wave bouncing between the two reflectors. Three additional mirrors, combined in a Beam Wave Guide (BWG) configuration, increase the number of focal positions.
The manufacturing of the SRT mechanical parts and their assembly on-site was commissioned in 2003 to the company MTM® (Germany). The final tests and acceptance of the instrument have been performed in August 2012. Simultaneously since early 2012, the technical commissioning phase managed by INAF staff started and it is expected to finish at the beginning of 2014. Then, the astronomical validation team will start the scientific commissioning activities, aimed to transform a powerful technological instrument to a real radio astronomical facility. In the meantime the astronomical validation team has partial access to the telescope for target of opportunity observations and indeed some promising results have been already obtained, like the detection of radio pulses at 7 GHz from the Magnetar PSR J1745-2900.
Early science/shared risk observations are foreseen to start in 2014 and will approximately last for two years.