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  1. History Radio interferometry started in Cambridge in the mid-1940s, with funding provided by Mullard Limited and the Science Research Council. Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is located at Lord’s Bridge, Cambridgeshire, was founded by Sir Martin Ryle, an English radio astronomer, and was opened by Sir Edward Victor Appleton, an English physicist, in 1957. Altogether, the entire site comprises several large aperture synthesis radio telescopes; some of these include the ‘one-mile telescope’, the ‘5km Ryle Telescope’ and the ‘Arcminute Microkelvin Imager’. The site this report is based on; an active telescope, is known as the AMI Large Array (the antennas of the Archminute Microkelvin Imager Large Array). This section of the facility is made up of ‘eight 12.8 metre diameter, equatorially mounted parabolic antennas’ (whatever that means) which were formerly part of the Ryle Telescope. Each of the antennas are separated by distances which range between 18 and 110m. This particular piece of equipment, including all of the antennas, was built by the Cavendish Astrophysics Group. It was designed to study galaxy clusters ‘by observing secondary anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background arising from the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich (SZ) effect’… which obviously makes perfect sense to us laypeople. In other words, then, the AMI array is used to observe radiation, particularly that with frequencies between 12 and 18 GHz. The telescopes can, therefore, be used to determine the masses and temperatures of certain known galaxy clusters. We could go on, seeking more answers about the universe, electrons, kinematic effects, cosmic microwave background radiation and inverse Compton scattering, but my knowledge acquired from the internet is dwindling fast… Our Version of Events Now for something a little more understandable. It was raining heavily as we approached Cambridge, so heavy in fact the rain was bouncing off the road as if it were hailstone. This didn’t stop us from noticing, and quickly admiring, those tidy thatched roofed houses you folk have down below our northern borders mind. We realised, of course, that we can only dream of such things as we rolled through the various quaint villages of Cambridgeshire in our small sort-of-orange-coloured three door wader-smelling Toyota. After driving past it twice – quite clearly the low lying cloud must have obscured our visibility – we eventually spotted the Mullard Observatory from the roadside. Wasting no more time we peddled our beasty little orange machine into a grassy verge as fast as we could. It was too slight and slender to sink in the mud, and bold enough for other drivers to notice, so we concluded we were fine to park there. From the road, though, we faced our biggest challenge of the day: a gruelling field crossing. Normally us Northerners are used to a bit of farmland, but we found these flat Southern plains incredibly flat and wet. Our trainers squelched loudly as we plodded through mud and rather large puddles which are conspicuously missing in all our photographs. “This wouldn’t happen in our fields” we grumbled to one another; we understand the concept of a hill. All in all it was a miserable experience. Eventually we reached the other side of the very flat field. We’d battled the elements and had paid the price. We were soaking. With nothing left to lose we made our way up to the fence line of the observatory and, ignoring the CCTV signs and other terrifying deterrents, found a way into the site to seek shelter beneath the giant dishes. At that point in time I was less impressed that these structures can detect cosmic radiation, I was simply thankful they’re shaped a little like giant umbrellas. We tried out best to grab a few decent shots, but decided to leave again after ten minutes due to the weather. Originally we had intended to have a wee climb up a couple of the antennas. At the time, however, our decision was unanimous: “fuck that shit”. There was none of our usual fannying around on our return to the car; for once we arrived somewhere earlier than we’d anticipated. And that, then, concludes our twenty minute stop off in Cambridge: it’s wet, muddy, flat, has nice thatched rooves and a sweet observatory. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Box and Husky. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13:
  2. Splored with UrbanX, Skeleton Key, Tog, Mrs Trog, Chieftan and Beer Switch This is a vast semi live site, the research shows that it has around 12 radio telescopes (7 decommisioned and 5 in use) this is only one of them. Its called the One Mile Telescope and is made up of several moveable dishes, one of which runs down a track, driven by a train like affair on the dish's platform We only touched on a small part of the site today, definitley in need of a re-visit to mooch the rest Some History The Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO) is home to a number of large radio telescopes. Radio interferometry started in the mid-1940s on the outskirts of Cambridge, but with funding from the Science Research Council and a donation of £100,000 from Mullard Limited, construction of the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory commenced. The observatory was founded under Martin Ryle of the Radio-Astronomy Group of the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge and was opened by Sir Edward Victor Appleton on 25 July 1957 One Mile Telescope The One-Mile Telescope at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO) is an array of radio telescopes, fully steerable 60-ft-diameter parabolic reflectors operating simultaneously at 1407 MHz and 408 MHz) designed to perform aperture synthesis interferometry, completed by the Radio Astronomy Group of Cambridge University in 1964 "To extend the range of our observations far back in time to the earliest days of the Universe" These are the trains that move the middle telescope along the rail SK fancied a climb The offices Time to go home, it had been a very long day