Radio telescope in Greenland sees first “light”

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Astronomers have successfully initiated operations of a new radio telescope dish, the first ever located in Greenland.

The Greenland Telescope is a 12-meter radio antenna that was originally built as a prototype for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) North America. Once ALMA was operational in Chile, the telescope was repurposed to Greenland to take advantage of the near-ideal conditions of the Arctic to study the Universe at specific radio frequencies, collaborating with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and MIT Haystack Observatory.

ASIAA led the effort to refurbish and rebuild the antenna to prepare it for the cold climate of Greenland’s ice sheet. In 2016, the telescope was shipped to the Thule Air Base in Greenland, 1,200 km inside the Arctic Circle, where it was reassembled at this coastal site. ASIAA also built receivers for the antenna. “It is extremely challenging to quickly and successfully set up a new telescope in such a cold environment, where temperatures fall below -30 degrees Celsius,” said Ming-Tang Chen from ASIAA and the Greenland Telescope project manager. “This is now one of the closest radio telescopes to the North Pole.”

They have also linked this radio telescope to others across the globe, helping to increase the resolution of any data these radio telescopes gather as a unit.


One comment

  • Col Beausabre

    Can’t be a NASA project, they saved money with a “pre-owned” telescope!

    IIRC, the Jodrell Bank antenna rotates on the turret ring from a scrapped Royal Navy battleship…..looked it up and…-

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

    The ships were part of the five ship Revenge class of 1915, mounted eight 15 inch guns in dual turrets, fought at Jutland and weren’t finally decommissioned until late 1943 -44 as being worn out by hard use early in WW II. What may have happened is that the RN removed the turret parts as spares for HMS Vanguard (1946) which mounted four recycled 15inch turrets. She was sold for scrap circa 1960 so the spares could be disposed of and some clever person got a brilliant idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *