Jodrell Bank Banner

 ‹‹prev | contents | next››



The second Manchester Echelle spectrometer being installed in 1995 at the San Pedro Martir telescope in Mexico
The second Manchester Echelle spectrometer being installed in 1995 at the San Pedro Martir telescope in Mexico.

The 25 degree long arcs of ionized gas in the Eridanus Constellation were first discovered by the group in 1965. The new (negative) image shown here was obtained in the light of the hydrogen alpha line with the Manchester wide field CCD camera for detailed comparison with X-ray, far infrared and radio images recently obtained of these the nearest interstellar shells.

The 1000 parsec diameter supergiant shells shown here were found using this group's interference filter (32 cm. square) combined with the UK Schmidt telescope. They surround the turbulent 30 Doradus nebula, stirred up by successive supernova explosions and particle winds from hot massive star

An HST image of the Hourglass planetary nebula
An HST image of the Hourglass planetary nebula. Bi-polar streams of hypersonic bullets of ionized gas have been discovered streaming along the nebular axis.


 ‹‹prev | contents | next››

The Optical Group

Optical Astronomers at Jodrell Bank

A group of optical/instrumental astronomers are now thriving among the radio telescopes at Jodrell Bank and under England's cloudy skies. Before moving to Jodrell Bank recently they had made a scientific living for thirty years in Manchester by designing and making highly specialised optical instruments for use on the high-altitude optical telescopes scattered around the world. At any given time four or five devices are being made or modified in what is best described as a "cottage industry" style of scientific activity.


Over recent years the workhorses of this group have been the two Manchester Echelle Spectrometers (MES) for use at the San Pedro Martir telescope in Mexico, the Anglo-Australian telescope in Australia and the Liverpool robotic telescope soon to be in operation on La Palma in the Canary Islands.In the face of intense competition from 'common-user' instruments now installed at all the world's large telescopes, the group has survived by exploiting astrophysical niches and using their ability to tailor instruments for specific problems. One of these spectrometers is shown left being installed at the superb site in Baja California for a collaborative programme with Mexican astronomers.

Research Highlights

The primary interests of the group have been the structure and turbulent motion of gas around and between stars in our own and other nearby galaxies. For example, they have discovered:
  • Some of the nearest large regions of ionized gas to the Sun
  • 1000 parsec diameter supergiant shells in the Large Magellenic Cloud (left).
  • Hypersonic (500 - 2000 km/s) bullets of gas ejected from planetary nebulae (left) and the massive luminous blue star Eta Carinae.
  • Multiple shells and perhaps a giant lobe tracing the ejection history of the archetypical luminous blue variable star P-Cygni.
  • Highly collimated flows of supersonic gas stripped from around newly born, low mass, stars in the core of the nearby Orion nebula by the powerful winds from the hot massive stars which energise the whole nebula.


Home | U.Man | PPARC | MERLIN | VLBI | Search | Feedback