News & Events

e-MERLIN team honoured by Royal Astronomical Society

09 Jan 2015

e-MERLIN map
The e-MERLIN network of up to seven radio telescopes is linked by an optical fibre network to a control centre at Jodrell Bank. They operate as a single telescope with a diameter of 217 kilometres, producing extremely sharp views of the radio universe.

Lovell and Mark II Telescopes at Jodrell Bank
The Lovell and Mark II Telescopes at Jodrell Bank working together as part of the e-MERLIN network.

The work of the e-MERLIN team, based at the University of Manchester’s School of Physics & Astronomy and its Jodrell Bank Observatory, has been recognised by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).

After spending the last ten years designing, building and operating the new e-MERLIN telescope network they have won the 2015 RAS Group Achievement award.

The small team involved in the design and construction of e-MERLIN have delivered what is now one of the world's most powerful radio telescopes, created by linking seven individual large dishes across the UK (including the iconic Lovell Telescope) via a dedicated optical fibre network to a powerful correlator at Jodrell Bank.

e-MERLIN is now being used by hundreds of astronomers in the UK and around the world to carry out radio imaging, spectroscopy and polarimetry at high angular resolution with unprecedented sensitivity. Current projects range from studying the formation of stars and planets to the evolution of galaxies and probes of dark matter and dark energy.

Professor Simon Garrington, who leads the team, said: “We are all delighted to have won this award. The team has been incredibly dedicated and used their skills to overcome many challenges to get this technically demanding project up and running. They thoroughly deserve to be recognised in this way.”

The e-MERLIN project has been funded by The University of Manchester, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Northwest Development Agency, The University of Cambridge, Liverpool John Moores University and has been developed in collaboration with the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the National Research Council in Canada.

Professor Martin Barstow, President of the Royal Astronomical Society, offered his congratulations: “There are many exceptionally talented women and men working in astronomy and geophysics, here in the UK and across the world. Our medals and awards honour those who have made an outstanding contribution to these sciences. As President of the RAS, it gives me enormous pleasure to congratulate this year’s winners and to wish them continued success in all that they do.”

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