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  1. #1
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    The Lovell telescope and Jodrell Bank Observatory trip



    Interesting day out with the family yesterday.

    Did you know the Lovell telescope can zoom in on a mobile phone sized object on Mars.

    There are Falcons nesting around the telescope, noisy things.

    In the heart of Cheshire and run by Manchester University.

    A few more pics from in and around the visitor centre...





    For over 50 years the giant Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank has been a familiar feature of the Cheshire landscape and an internationally renowned landmark in the world of astronomy.
    Since the summer of 1957 it has been quietly probing the depths of space, a symbol of our wish to understand the universe in which we live. Even now, it remains one of the biggest and most powerful radio telescopes in the world, spending most of its time investigating cosmic phenomena which were undreamed of when it was conceived.
    The Structure

    The most striking feature of the Lovell Telescope is the huge white bowl that can be seen for many miles around. This bowl, fashioned in the shape of a paraboloid, is the part of the telescope that gathers incoming radio waves (see below). When the telescope is pointed towards a radio source in the sky, waves arriving from the source are intercepted by the bowl and reflected from the steel surface into the focus box mounted on top of the central tower. Here, at the focal point of the reflector, a small aerial picks up the waves and feeds them into a sensitive radio receiver.

    Facts and Figures

    Mass of the telescope 3200 tonnes
    Mass of bowl 1500 tonnes
    Diameter of bowl 76.2 metres
    Collecting area 4560 square metres
    Surface area of bowl 5270 square metres
    Amount of paint for 3 coats 5300 litres
    Focal length 22.9 metres
    Focal ratio (F number) 0.30
    Height of elevation axis 50.5 metres
    Maximum height above ground 89.0 metres
    Radius of wheel girders 38.5 metres
    Outer diameter of railway track 107.5 metres
    Longitude 0225.74 (dd:mm:ss West)
    Latitude 53:14:10.50 (dd:mm:ss North
    Steering the bowl

    From the beginning, the telescope was designed to be fully steerable, so that it could be pointed to any part of the sky, right down to the horizon. Indeed, more than 60 years after it was conceived, there are only two fully steerable instruments larger than the Lovell Telescope, one in Germany (Effelsberg) and one in the United States (Green Bank).
    The whole telescope rotates on circular railway tracks, while the bowl, supported on either side by two towers, can be tilted at any angle from the horizon to the zenith. In this way the bowl can be directed at any point in the sky. The horizontal (azimuth) drive is powered by two 50 horse power electric motors at the foot of each tower, while the vertical (elevation) drive is powered by two motors at the top of each tower, and by two more motors driving the wheel girders beneath the bowl.
    The two motions are independent, with a maximum drive rate of 15 degrees a minute in azimuth and 10 degrees in a minute in elevation. These fast rates are used when the telescope is being moved from one astronomical object to another, but when tracking a source, the elevation and azimuth drives together have to produce a slow, smooth motion of no more than a quarter of a degree a minute to compensate for the rotation of the Earth. The telescope can track objects in any part of the sky, except for a small region around the zenith.
    Computer control

    A control computer calculates the required drive rates to follow each radio source. The drive motors are servo-controlled, so there is a continuous check that the correct rate has been achieved. The position of the telescope is constantly monitored and fed back to control computer to ensure that the telescope is pointing correctly.
    For good tracking the pointing accuracy should be about a twentieth of the resolution. Since the resolution is proportional to the wavelength being received (see below), it follows that the pointing accuracy is more critical at shorter wavelengths. The control computer is able to correct for pointing errors caused by the telescope bowl sagging under its own weight as it moves up and down. In this way the pointing errors can be kept to about 10 arcsec.
    The Lovell Telescope can be controlled from any of six locations at Jodrell Bank, but the centre of operations is the control room which is manned 24 hours a day by one of a team of controllers. The controller is a technician who is responsible at all times for the safe operation of the telescope. During normal operation the telescope is under the control of the observing room, but if something goes wrong, such as a malfunction or impending bad weather, the ever-watchful controller can call a halt to the observing and park the telescope in a safe position with the bowl pointing to the zenith and the brakes applied.
    The work begins

    Once the telescope is on source, the astronomical work can begin. The radio receiver in the focus box is kept cooled to a few degrees above absolute zero. This ensures that the very weak signal from the sky is not swamped by noise from the receiver itself. The amplified signal is sent down a cable to the observing room, where it is available to the astronomer.
    Depending on the nature of the observing programme, the signal can be used in many ways. Its strength can be measured, and its polarization; two basic properties of electromagnetic waves. A spectrum can be made and a lot more information deduced about about the source of emission. In most cases the processed signals are stored on magnetic tape or disc for later analysis on Jodrell Bank’s network of powerful computers.
    Collecting radio waves

    Radio waves arriving from space are very weak. They have to be collected over a large area and brought to a focus, where an antenna, similar in principle to a TV aerial, captures them and turns them into an electrical signal. The larger the collecting area the more sensitive the telescope will be and the weaker the waves that can be received.
    A common way of doing this is to use a reflector in the shape of a shallow bowl. The surface is formed into a paraboloid (a three dimensional parabola), so that all waves arriving from a distance are reflected to a point at the focus. The sensitivity is proportional to the square of the diameter. So a 100-m telescope is four times as sensitive as a 50-m telescope.
    The smoothness of the surface is very important. To achieve a sharp focus, any unevenness over the surface should ideally be no more than a twentieth of the shortest wavelength the telescope is designed to receive. At the same time, the bowl should keep its shape as it is moved up and down. This was a major engineering challenge for the designers of the Lovell Telescope as astronomers sought to work at even shorter wavelengths.


  2. #2
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    A few more pics from the day...
















    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
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    Top stuff chitty and that monster eye on the sky is giving me the hard dog-bone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post
    Did you know the Lovell telescope can zoom in on a mobile phone sized object on Mars.
    I cannot see this though.

    Physics restricts the resolution of telescopes by the diffraction limit which is a formula based on the ratio of the wavelength of the EMR being used and the diameter of the dish.

    Hubble has a modest 2.4m dish giving a diffraction limit of about 0.05 arc seconds using the visible spectrum as it does.

    Jodrell bank uses radio waves I guess and has a much bigger diameter but it would not be able to resolve a mobile phone on Mars.

    There are currently no earth based telescopes that can even resolve the large bits of junk left behind on the moon by the Apollo missions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Looper View Post
    Top stuff chitty and that monster eye on the sky is giving me the hard dog-bone!



    I cannot see this though.

    Physics restricts the resolution of telescopes by the diffraction limit which is a formula based on the ratio of the wavelength of the EMR being used and the diameter of the dish.

    Hubble has a modest 2.4m dish giving a diffraction limit of about 0.05 arc seconds using the visible spectrum as it does.

    Jodrell bank uses radio waves I guess and has a much bigger diameter but it would not be able to resolve a mobile phone on Mars.

    There are currently no earth based telescopes that can even resolve the large bits of junk left behind on the moon by the Apollo missions.
    Stop making shit up. Didn't you see the picture of the cow on Mars? A cow is not that much larger than a cellphone.

    Thank you for sharing Chittychangchang it looks like an nice day out, and nice pictures.
    Don't mind Looper he is a scientific ignoramus .why would you even try dissolve large bits of lunk left behind by Apollo with a telescope?
    The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

  5. #5
    Balls to Monty
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckaroo Banzai View Post
    Didn't you see the picture of the cow on Mars?
    Buckaroo might be onto something here and may have solved the mystery of why Mars lost its atmosphere...

    It was catastrophic runaway greenhouse warming due to all the Martian cow farts!

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    Nice sleuthing Looper, hence my subliminal methane producing cow pic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post


    They should cover the outside of the scaffolding in white, then paint on red blood vessels, so it looks a like a giant eyeball looking up to the universe.


    It would get the attention and interest of kids that see it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    They should cover the outside of the scaffolding in white, then paint on red blood vessels, so it looks a like a giant eyeball looking up to the universe.


    It would get the attention and interest of kids that see it.
    and any aliens thinking of sneaking up on as would know that we are keeping an eye on them
    Brilliant!!

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    It's a well established fact that cows live on Mars.

    But who put the tags in their ears? That's the real mystery here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    They should cover the outside of the scaffolding in white, then paint on red blood vessels, so it looks a like a giant eyeball looking up to the universe.


    It would get the attention and interest of kids that see it.
    I like your train of thought.
    Anything that gets kids interested in Science is a positive thing.
    There's so much more than just our planet and solar system.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buckaroo Banzai View Post
    and any aliens thinking of sneaking up on as would know that we are keeping an eye on them
    Brilliant!!
    Define Alien?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    It's a well established fact that cows live on Mars.

    But who put the tags in their ears? That's the real mystery here.
    Did they get there by jumping over the moon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    But who put the tags in their ears?
    Matt Damon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SKkin View Post
    Matt Damon?
    Nah, he would have eaten them with his humble potatoes grown in his own crap

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    Many years ago when I was a little boy my dad took me to an observatory on the Mendip Hills in Somerset, UK. I had completely forgotten about it until reading this thread, so thanks for that. It's brought back some long ago memories of the excitement of going out late on a clear winter night.

    A quick Google search shows the observatory is in a place called Charterhouse and was built in 1973, so it must have been pretty new when I visited. It must have had some impact on me to remember the night more than 40 years later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang View Post
    Define Alien?
    Little green people with big heads and eyes.
    If they are wearing sombreros they might be illegal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Looper View Post
    There are currently no earth based telescopes that can even resolve the large bits of junk left behind on the moon by the Apollo missions.
    Yeah, very convenient, that

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Many years ago when I was a little boy my dad took me to an observatory on the Mendip Hills in Somerset,
    Is that just a coincidence or were the hills named after an ancester of yours

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Many years ago when I was a little boy my dad took me to an observatory on the Mendip Hills in Somerset, UK. I had completely forgotten about it until reading this thread, so thanks for that. It's brought back some long ago memories of the excitement of going out late on a clear winter night.

    A quick Google search shows the observatory is in a place called Charterhouse and was built in 1973, so it must have been pretty new when I visited. It must have had some impact on me to remember the night more than 40 years later.
    I went on a school trip to Cheddar caves in the early 70s. I can still remember standing outside the cave entrance and taking a photograph of my friends and climbing up Jacob's Ladder. I can remember taking that photograph more clearly than I can remember what I saw in the cave.
    signature

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    I grew up in that general area and used to go caving in many of the Mendip's caves as a teenager. That's probably why one of the cave rescuers from the famous incident last year in Thailand lives in Bristol - its a well known caving area.

    When I visit family I always go back to Cheddar to pick up some of 'the only cheddar made in Cheddar'. Cave matured cheese from the village that gave it's name to the famous cheese making process. The cheese doesn't actually taste a lot different from the mass produced product, but just costs three times more.

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    Nice memories thanks Chitty, been there many times when I was a kid. Always somewhere on the horizon if you are around the Manchester area and get up t’hills

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    Structural design by Charles Husband, a Sheffield consulting engineer.

    I worked at his company many years ago.

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    Jodrell Bank Observatory has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.

    It has been at the forefront of astronomical research since its inception in 1945 and tracked US and Russian craft during the space race.

    The site in Cheshire is part of the University of Manchester. It is dominated by the landmark Lovell Telescope.

    It joins the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon and other locations that have been added to the prestigious list.

    Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
    Image caption
    Soviet cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky (left), who went on three space flights, met Jodrell Bank founder Sir Bernard Lovell in 1967
    The UN World Heritage Committee is meeting in Azerbaijan until 10 July to decide on the latest sites to be given the honour - awarded to areas considered to be important for the whole of humanity, which will be protected by international treaties.

    Scientific research began at Jodrell Bank Observatory in 1945 when the physicist Sir Bernard Lovell came to the University of Manchester.

    The site pioneered the then new science of radio astronomy, which used radio waves instead of visible light to understand the universe.

    Jodrell Bank Observatory
    Image copyrightANTHONY HOLLOWAY
    Image caption
    The Lovell Telescope was almost not completed as its construction ran over budget
    The Lovell Telescope, which was the world's largest telescope when it was completed in 1957, is now the third largest
    Jodrell Bank was on standby as the UK's early warning system against any potential nuclear attack during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
    The Lovell Telescope tracked the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon in 1966, printing the first picture from the lunar surface
    It is so sensitive that mobile phone use on the site is normally forbidden and the staff microwave oven is shielded by a metal box to prevent interference
    The site featured in BBC's Stargazing Live series, Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Doctor Who
    The site's new accolade marks the end of a decade-long bid to gain World Heritage status, following a 2010 application to be included on the UK's nominations shortlist.

    Professor Teresa Anderson, director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, said: "This is wonderful news and a great day in the history of Jodrell Bank.

    "It honours the pioneering work of Sir Bernard Lovell and the early scientists here, together with the world-leading research that continues to this day."

    Image Copyright @_TeresaAnderson@_TERESAANDERSON
    Report
    A University of Manchester spokeswoman said the observatory fulfilled the judges' criteria, which included being "a masterpiece of human creative genius", due to its scientific achievements.

    Image copyrightUNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
    Image caption
    Sir Bernard Lovell (centre) and his researchers were among the pioneers of radio astronomy
    Jodrell Bank also hosts the headquarters of the Square Kilometre Array, an international project to create the world's largest radio telescope by linking thousands of dishes and receivers across Africa and Australia.

    You may also like:
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    The observatory is among 32 sites in the UK - including Stonehenge and the Giant's Causeway - to receive World Heritage status and joins a list of 1,100 sites worldwide.

    More than 185,000 people visit Jodrell Bank annually.

    Image Copyright @ProfBrianCox@PROFBRIANCOX
    Report
    In 2018, the University of Manchester was granted £12.1m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £4m from the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport for a new discovery centre at the observatory.

    Heritage Minister Rebecca Pow said: "The research completed here has transformed our understanding of the universe and it is right that this is recognised.

    "Today's announcement will make sure that this remarkable site will continue to inspire young scientists and astronomers all over the wo

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