Report - - Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge - December 2020 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge - December 2020


Wasteland Wanderer
28DL Full Member
So I took a little drive out to splendid Cambridgeshire. After deciding to climb half a radio mast; which takes me an age, we didn't get there until dusk. Nonetheless, it made for some great starry long exposures which I haven't seen too many of online. The explore was very straightforward, but we decided to approach the various parts of the site via the fields to be cautious. Regardless, not a soul was about and made for a great explore. As with night photography, you usually spend half an hour in one spot rather than actually looking round the site, so the area we covered was actually quite limited.

The History:

This observatory as part of the University of Cambridge's research began at Lord's Hill in 1957 after it was decided that different premises were needed to the existing 1940s' observatory elsewhere on the outskirts of Cambridge. It was built upon a the site of an ordnance storage site potentially dating from WW2 (unsure?). I want to go back to check out some of the remaining magazines. The road layout still largely reflects that of the ordnance site.

The first telescope built on site was the 4C Array - something resembling a 'mini Duga radar' consisting of a 200m row of pivoting U-shaped protrusions on stands. The circular dish-style One-Mile Telescope was added next in 1964. One lies some distance from the rest of the site, but the other two are situated opposite the 4C Array on a large sliding rail complete with control rooms and huts, straight out of the gloriously experimental and h&s ignorant 1950s. In the distance along this track, two of the 1968 Half-Mile Telescopes could be soon, essentially smaller versions of the One-Mile.

Here's one of many great Pathe reels showing the scopes on site back in the day:

There's plenty more telescopes of more modern vintage on the site, and I think a day return is needed. Please do respect this bit of space-observation heritage as it is not only still actively used and patrolled but of course retains these decommissioned historic gems.

The more isolated dish of the One-Mile Telescope:





The other two One-Mile Telescopes in the site centre:




Wider views showing the site centre and the amazingly janky 'mini-Duga' 4C Array:




28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nicely done! Great place for a foreground of nighttime star photos I've found.

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Really nice shots. Loving that 3rd shot. The sky looks so clear by slightly purple. Stunning

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