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Report - Lovell Radio Telescope, Jodrell Bank - December 2011.


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Lovell Radio Telescope, Jodrell Bank

R.I.P Sir Bernard Lovell - (1913 - 2012)


On a clear day I can see the Lovell Space Telescope & the Runcorn Bridge from up in t'hills, both of which I have thought "one day"

Being that I've already climbed the bridge I thought it would be rude not to finally take a look at this bloody big dish as well..

This place has it all; Dodging cctv & alarms, some sketchy buildering..

..oh and wandering around a brightly lit compound like an xmas tree in full view of the observatory with secca wandering about made this all the more fun :thumb

(That's right, the structure has been belled up and locked down since the early days of people hitting it)

A couple of trips here with Ninja boy with some fail thrown in eventually gave way to us climbing onto and up this beast (Which in the end was cut short)


History Shizzle:

The famous "Mark I" telescope, now known as the Lovell Telescope, was once the largest steerable dish radio telescope in the world

It is now the third largest, after the Green Bank and Effelsberg telescopes

At 76.2m (250 ft) in diameter, the telescope became operational in mid-1957, just in time for the launch of Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite

The telescope was the only one in the world able to track Sputnik's booster rocket by radar

In the following years, the telescope was used to track a variety of space probes

Between 11 March and 12 June 1960, it tracked the Pioneer 5 probe

The telescope was also used to send commands to the probe, including the one to separate the probe from its carrier rocket and the ones to turn on the more powerful transmitter when the probe was eight million miles away

In February 1966, Jodrell Bank tracked the USSR unmanned moon lander Luna 9 and listened in on its facsimile transmission of photographs from the moon's surface

The photos were sent to the British press and published before the Soviets themselves had made the photos public

Part of the gun turret mechanisms from the battleships HMS Revenge and Royal Sovereign were reused in the motor system for the telescope

The Observatory also featured in the opening sequence of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'​

Shot handheld in freezing conditions, after much lurking our target was in sight


Wandering about the brightly lit compound and playing cat & mouse with security who were uncomfortably close on more than one occasion

(The dish is constantly on the move, hence the motion blur)


With the odds stacked against us we went for it and climbed up the stucture avoiding the alarms, we stopped for a quick piccy in case we were busted


We decided to keep going but it was hard going, our hands were freezing cold and somehow we must have tripped one of the motion sensors as suddenly there was activity at the far side of the compound


Not wanting to hang about we promptly got the fuck down as quick as humanly possible and bailed

Getting caught was never an option here!​
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