Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory

Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory

The Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) is a radio astronomy observatory located in a natural bowl of hills at Hartebeesthoek just south of the Magaliesberg mountain range, Gauteng province, South Africa, about 50 km west of Johannesburg. It is a National Research Facility run by South Africa's National Research Foundation and is the only major radio astronomy observatory in Africa.


The observatory was originally named "Deep Space Station 51" and was built in 1961 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In this role the station assisted in tracking many unmanned United States space missions, including the Ranger, Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter spacecraft (which landed on the Moon or mapped it from orbit), the Mariner missions (which explored the planets Venus and Mars) and the Pioneer missions (which measured the Sun's winds).

NASA withdrew from the station in 1975, handing it over to South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who converted to a radio astronomy observatory. In 1988 the observatory became a National Facility operated by the Foundation for Research Development (FRD); in 1999 the FRD was restructured as the National Research Foundation (NRF).

The Radio Telescope

The observatory is equipped with a single 260 ton radio telescope with a main reflecting surface diameter of 26 metres. The telescope is equipped with radio receivers operating in the microwave band at wavelengths of 18cm, 13cm, 6cm, 5cm, 4.5cm, 3.5cm and 2.5cm.


HartRAO is mainly used for continuum radiometry, spectroscopy, pulsar timing and interferometry but also works together with radio telescopes on other continents as well as the orbiting radio telescope HALCA in order to perform Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI).

HartRAO is an associate member of the European VLBI Network, but also operates with the Australia Telescope Long Baseline Array, the Asia-Pacific Telescope, the United States Very Long Baseline Array and the Global Array.

HartRAO also runs a Space Geodesy programme using VLBI, Satellite laser ranging and the Global Positioning System.

The observatory also provides students and lecturers from South African universities the facilities and opportunities to perform research.

Involvement with the Karoo Array Telescope Project

The XDM, a prototype dish for the MeerKAT radio telescope, has been constructed at HartRAO. The XDM dish design will first be used in KAT-7, a seven-dish engineering testbed and science instrument to be built in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape Province. KAT-7 will mark the first stage of MeerKAT development. MeerKAT, a 50+ dish system, will be built on the same site, and is projected to be operational by 2012.

External links

* [http://www.hartrao.ac.za/ Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory Website]
* [http://www.ska.ac.za/ SKA (Square Kilometre Array) Website]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • South African Astronomical Observatory — The Southern African Large Telescope Organ …   Wikipedia

  • MeerKAT — KAT 7 Organization NRF Department of Science and Technology[1] SKA South Africa Project Location Northern Cape, South Africa Coordinates …   Wikipedia

  • Список радиотелескопов — В статье представлен список радиотелескопов, которые использовались или используются в радиоастрономических наблюдениях.Список рассортирован по континентам, и по названиям радиотелескопов. Содержание 1 Австралия 2 Азия 3 Антарктика …   Википедия

  • Liste der Radioteleskope und Forschungsfunkstellen — Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Australien 2 Belgien 2.1 Atmosphärenforschung 3 Chile 4 China …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Европейская РСДБ сеть — Расположение преимущественно Европа Длины волн 90, 50, 21/18, 13, 6, 5, 3,6, 2, 1 …   Википедия

  • Европейская сеть РСДБ — Европейская РСДБ сеть Расположение преимущественно Европа Длины волн 90, 50, 21/18, 13, 6, 5, 3,6, 2, 1 …   Википедия

  • Европейская РСДБ-сеть — Расположение преимущественно Европа …   Википедия

  • National Research Foundation of South Africa — Abbreviation NRF Formation April 1, 1999 (1999 04 01) (12 years ago) …   Wikipedia

  • Tswaing crater — Tswaing is a meteorite crater in South Africa.The crater exposed at the surface, 1.13 km in diameter, 100 m deep [cite web|url=http://www.saao.ac.za/ wgssa/as2/reimold.html|title=Meteorites and Meteorite Craters|last=Reimold|first=W.U. |date=1998 …   Wikipedia

  • Vredefort crater — Infobox World Heritage Site Name = Vredefort Dome State Party = ZAF Type = Natural Criteria = viii ID = 1162 Region = Africa Year = 2005 Session = 29th Link = http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1162Vredefort crater is the largest verified impact… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”