The Lovell Telescope has stood proudly over the Cheshire Plain
for over 40 years. It is the flagship of the Jodrell Bank Observatory
which is part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy of
the University of Manchester. The observatory is a place of learning, teaching
and research for the many engineers, astronomers and students
who develop and use the radio telescopes here. Manchester astronomers
also use X-ray, optical, infrared and millimetre-wave instruments
across the globe and in space to make complementary observations.
Jodrell Bank is also a place of wonder and inspiration for the
140,000 who visit our Science Centre each year.
at the dawn of the space age, the Lovell Telescope played an
important role in the discovery of quasars and has been at the
forefront of pulsar research for over 30 years. In 1979 one
of Einstein's predictions was confirmed when the first gravitational
lens was discovered following its detection in a Lovell Telescope
Lovell Telescope is now undergoing a major upgrade funded jointly
by the Government and the Wellcome Foundation. A new reflecting
surface, more precisely shaped than the current one, will be
installed in the summers of 2001 and 2002.
will greatly extend the range of observations that the telescope
can carry out and will keep it at the leading edge of astronomical
research for many years to come. It is less well known that
Jodrell Bank is at the heart of the MERLIN array of telescopes.
First operational in 1980 and extended in 1991, the array now
stretches 217 km across, from the Welsh borders in the west
to Cambridge in the east. The signals from the 5 remote telescopes
are brought back to Jodrell Bank where they are combined to
form radio images directly comparable in detail with those from
the Hubble Space Telescope at optical wavelengths - the only
instrument in the world routinely capable of doing this.
is now a National Facility, operated by the University on behalf
of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC)
for the whole astronomical community. MERLIN has made major
contributions to the study of quasars and gravitational lenses
and is proving to be a valuable tool for the study of star birth
telescopes at Jodrell Bank and Cambridge also form a key part
of the European Very-Long-Baseline-Interferometry (VLBI) Network
that spans Europe from the UK to Poland and from Sweden to Sicily.
This, the world's most sensitive VLBI array, provides even higher
resolution images than either MERLIN or optical telescopes.
also operate small radio telescopes on Tenerife observing the
radiation left over from the Big Bang and so helping us to understand
more about the origin and evolution of the universe. To continue
these studies of the early universe, Jodrell Bank engineers
are now building receivers to fly on the European Space Agency
spacecraft, Planck Surveyor, due for launch around 2007.
following pages will give you some idea of the wide range of
research that is being carried out by the observatory and of
the fine telescopes and engineering that underpins this work.
Bank Observatory, University of Manchester.
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