Ingenuity and initiative in Australian radio astronomy: the Dover Heights ‘hole-in-the-ground’ antenna

Orchiston, Wayne , and Slee, Bruce (2002) Ingenuity and initiative in Australian radio astronomy: the Dover Heights ‘hole-in-the-ground’ antenna. Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 5 (1). pp. 21-34.

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Abstract

During the 1950s staff from the CSIRO's Division of Radiophysics based at the Dover Heights field station employed ingenuity and initiative in response to a lack of funding and support for a new radio telescope. In order to obtain the requisite aperture for the resolution sought they spent their own time excavating a 21.9-m parabolic depression in the sand at the field station, and when the viability of this prototype transit instrument was established its diameter was increased to 24.4 m, making this the largest radio telescope in Australia at the time. Operating at 400 MHz, this instrument was employed to map the galactic centre region and in a search for new discrete sources. It also was used to investigate polarization in the plane of the Galaxy, and in an unsuccessful search for the newly-proposed deuterium line. Today the Dover Heights "hole-in-the-ground" antenna lies buried beneath Rodney Reserve, and there is little at this public playing field to remind visitors of the important contributions made by this radio telescope, and others at this site, during the formative years of Australian radio astronomy.

Item ID: 4946
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-2807
Keywords: radio astronomy; Dover Heights; galactic centre; source surveys; Rodney Reserve; radio astronomy; galactic centre
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Reproduced with permission from the editor of the "Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage."

Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2009 03:43
FoR Codes: 22 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 100%
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