Monday, August 11, 2008

National Radio Telescope Observatory

Ever since I took my first astronomy course at the College of Charleston, I have been fascinated by how God shows his majesty in the vastness of space. I had heard about the National Radio Telescopes that were being constructed and how they can give a better picture of space than the optical telescopes. In the first picture is the largest telescope on the planet. We are looking at it from approximately 1/2 mile away.
The location in rural Green Bank, West Virginia was selected because of the limited interference of other electronic equipment. Car motors, microwaves, cameras, radio transmitters all interfere with these very sensitive telescopes that are mapping our universe with the radio waves emitted by the stars. We could not even take pictures of the close to ten telescopes they have there because of the interference of the cameras.
Kenny is standing next to one of the first radio telescopes built in the scientist's back yard and later relocated to the observatory. The white frame you see is all constructed of wood. Very impressive. You can get a sense for how large it is based on the pictures of the trailer next to it.
The people there were so hospitable. They let us camp the night in their parking lot. I didn't know my microwave would interfere with them so I hope we didn't bother them too much. It is just a beautiful location with so many new discoveries being made. If you are interested, there is a very good website that shares some of the ways they are using the telescoped and the discoveries they have made:

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