Thursday, April 2, 2009

Giant radio telescopes

Giant radio telescopes:
A radio telescope is a form of directional radio antenna used in radio astronomy and in tracking and collecting data from satellites and space probes. Radio telescopes are typically large parabolic ("dish") antenna used singularly or in an array formation. Radio observatories are located far from major centers of population in order to avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI) from radio, TV, radar, and other EMI emitting devices. When you are talking about a radio telescope observatory in an Array formation then the very large Array observatory (Check out the streetview also) in New Mexico in the U.S is the biggest in the world. In this place 27 independent antennas, each of which has a dish diameter of 25 meters and weighs 209 metric tonnes, are placed in an Y-shaped formation:

The largest individual radio telescope of any kind is the RATAN-600 located near Nizhny Arkhyz in Russia. It consists of a 576-meter circle of rectangular radio reflectors, each of which can be pointed towards a central conical receiver:

If you look at a single radio telescope the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is the biggest in the world. This thing has a diameter of 305 meters and was also featured in the James Bond movie Goldeneye:

That thing floating in the air is the reciever. It is located on a 900-ton platform which is suspended 150 m in the air above the dish by 18 cables running from three reinforced concrete towers, one of which is 110m high and the other two of which are 80 m high (the tops of the three towers are at the same elevation). Another very big single radio telescope is the Goldstone radio telescope not far from Barstow in California in the U.S. This thing has a diametre of 70 metres:

And what about the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia in the U.S. It has a diameter of 100 meters and is the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope and the world's largest land-based movable structure:

Looking down from it:

The largest radio telescope in Europe is the 100-meter diameter antenna in Effelsberg, Germany:

This was also was the world's largest fully-steerable telecope for 30 years until the slightly larger Green Bank Telescope mentioned above was opened in West Virginia, United States, in 2000.

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