Mount Pleasant Radio Observatory

Mount Pleasant Radio Observatory

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The Mount Pleasant Radio Observatory is a radio astronomy
Radio astronomy
Radio astronomy is a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies. The initial detection of radio waves from an astronomical object was made in the 1930s, when Karl Jansky observed radiation coming from the Milky Way. Subsequent observations have identified a number of...

 based observatory
Observatory
An observatory is a location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events. Astronomy, climatology/meteorology, geology, oceanography and volcanology are examples of disciplines for which observatories have been constructed...

 owned and operated by University of Tasmania
University of Tasmania
The University of Tasmania is a medium-sized public Australian university based in Tasmania, Australia. Officially founded on 1 January 1890, it was the fourth university to be established in nineteenth-century Australia...

, located 20 km east of Hobart
Hobart
Hobart is the state capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1804 as a penal colony,Hobart is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney. In 2009, the city had a greater area population of approximately 212,019. A resident of Hobart is known as...

. It is home to three radio astronomy antennas and the Grote Reber Museum.

Equipment


The observatory has three radio telescopes: the Mount Pleasant 26 metre antenna, the 14 metre Vela Antenna and a 12 metre AuScope VLBI Antenna. The Observatory is linked to the University of Tasmania
University of Tasmania
The University of Tasmania is a medium-sized public Australian university based in Tasmania, Australia. Officially founded on 1 January 1890, it was the fourth university to be established in nineteenth-century Australia...

's Hobart
Hobart
Hobart is the state capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1804 as a penal colony,Hobart is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney. In 2009, the city had a greater area population of approximately 212,019. A resident of Hobart is known as...

 campus with a 25 km fibre optic cable, installed in 2007.

The 14 m Vela telescope was constructed in 1981 as a dedicated instrument for observation of the Vela Pulsar
Vela Pulsar
The Vela Pulsar is a radio, optical, X-ray and gamma-emitting pulsar associated with Vela Supernova Remnant, in the constellation of Vela.- Supernova origins :...

. The telescope has tracked the pulsar 18 hours a day, nearly continuously for over 20 years.

The 26 metre Radio dish came from the Orroral Valley Tracking Station
Orroral Valley Tracking Station
The Orroral Valley tracking station supported Earth-orbiting satellites, as part of NASA's Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network . It is located approximately 50 kilometres south of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory...

, ACT, where it was used as a satellite tracker within the Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network
Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network
The Spacecraft Tracking and Data Network was established by NASA to satisfy the requirement for long-duration, highly-available space-to-ground communications...

 and then for support to NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 manned missions. The 26 metre telescope is used in Australia's very long baseline interferometry
Very Long Baseline Interferometry
Very Long Baseline Interferometry is a type of astronomical interferometry used in radio astronomy. It allows observations of an object that are made simultaneously by many telescopes to be combined, emulating a telescope with a size equal to the maximum separation between the telescopes.Data...

 (VLBI) network.

Other Telescopes


The University of Tasmania
University of Tasmania
The University of Tasmania is a medium-sized public Australian university based in Tasmania, Australia. Officially founded on 1 January 1890, it was the fourth university to be established in nineteenth-century Australia...

 also operates three other radio astronomy antennas: the 30 metre Ceduna Radio Observatory (SA) and two additional AuScope 12 metre antennas at Katherine (NT) and Yaragadee (WA).

The University also owns and operates optical observatories: Canopus Hill Observatory
Canopus Hill Observatory
The Canopus Hill Observatory is an optical astronomy observatory belonging to the University of Tasmania , It is located approximately 12 km from Hobart in Tasmania, Australia and is a host of Canopus 1 m telescope...

 (soon to be closed) and the Bisdee Tier Optical Astronomy Observatory
Bisdee Tier Optical Astronomy Observatory
The Bisdee Tier Optical Astronomy Observatory is an astronomical facility being built by the University of Tasmania on Bisdee Tier, Spring Hill, Tasmania. The observatory will be a host for 1.27 m optical telescope.- Telescope :...

 (under construction).

Grote Reber Museum


There is also a small museum on site dedicated to the life and works of Grote Reber
Grote Reber
Grote Reber was an amateur astronomer and pioneer of radio astronomy. He was instrumental in investigating and extending Karl Jansky's pioneering work, and conducted the first sky survey in the radio frequencies...

. The museum hosts about 5000 visitors annually and runs several Open Days each year.

External links