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CW (Cambridge Wireless)

Wireless Heritage SIG event - 'Tour of Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory'

Start date/time :  12:00 15th September 2017
End date/time :  14:30 15th September 2017
Venue :  Lord’s Bridge, Barton, Cambridge, CB23 7AE

By popular request, the CW Wireless Heritage SIG is running a repeat of our 2015 tour to the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRAO) near Cambridge. The tour will focus on the history of Radio astronomy.


The observatory is home to a number of large aperture synthesis radio telescopes, including the One-Mile Telescope, 5-km Ryle Telescope, and the Arcminute Microkelvin Imager. Radio interferometry started in the mid-1940s on the outskirts of Cambridge, but a few years after the construction of the MRAO transferred to the current site at Lord's Bridge.

The observatory was founded under Martin Ryle of the Radio-Astronomy Group of the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge and was opened by Sir Edward Victor Appleton on 25 July 1957. This group is now known as the Cavendish Astrophysics Group. The site is at a former ordnance storage facility, next to the now-abandoned Cambridge-Bedford railway line, and aside from its current use by the MRAO has an interesting history in its own right. A portion of the track bed of the old line, running nearly East-West for several miles, was used to form the main part of the "5km" radio-telescope and the Cambridge Low Frequency Synthesis Telescope. In the 21st century we can see at Lord’s Bridge a combination of historic as well as modern and future radio telescopes, which are currently under development.

Read the review from the previous visit, written by Simon Rockman 'Geeks guide to Britian: Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory'

Other information: MRAO — Cavendish Astrophysics

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Organisation:  CW (Cambridge Wireless)