Westerbork Radio Telescope

Thursday, 14th September 2006 by

The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the Netherlands is:

an aperture synthesis interferometer that consists of a linear array of 14 antennas arranged on a 2.7 km East-West line.

Um... So, aperture synthesis is when a collection of telescopes are banded together to achieve the same "resolving power" as an instrument the size of the entire collection. And an 'interferometer' is, ah... best explained on the Interferometry Wikipedia page! There's 12 antennas right next to each other, the easternmost of which can be moved on rail tracks, and a little further to the east are two further antennas, whose locations can also be adjusted.

westerbork.jpg westerbork2.jpg

The WSRT is often combined with other telescopes, including the Lovell Telescope), to perform Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observations as part of the European VLBI Network.

Thanks to Paul Boven and Sven van Heel.