There are place names familiar to astronomers around the world: Mount Palomar, Mauna Kea, and Paranal, for example. A village in Eifel also has a magical sound – Effelsberg, cosmopolitan mostly “Äffelsbörk”.
As in California, Hawaii and Chile, one of the most powerful telescopes in the world is located here. The radio telescope with a diameter of 100 meters began routine operation fifty years ago today.
For a long time it was the largest portable radio dish in the world. Even after half a century, it still ranks second.
Radio waves are not affected by artificial light or clouds. Therefore, high-quality observations can also be made from rainy Germany.
With the giant plate in a valley near Eifelsberg, experts observe, among other things, pulsars, rapidly rotating star corpses, cold gas and dust clouds in the universe and magnetic fields in the Milky Way.
In addition, telescopes are often connected to instruments on other continents in order to look more clearly into space, for example at the cores of active galaxies billions of light years away.
The imposed device weighs more than 3000 tons. The area of \u200b\u200bthe bowl is larger than the area of \u200b\u200bthe football field, but the largest deviation from the optimal shape is less than half a millimeter – an engineering skill.
The interface has been revamped since it came into operation, and completely new receivers have also been added. The steel structure may be half a century old, but the telescope itself is state-of-the-art.
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