Tuesday 12 April 2011

Aerial photographs of LOFAR-UK Chilbolton

Some dramatic photographs have just been posted on the Press and Media Image Library of the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). These show the LOFAR station at Chilbolton, Hampshire, UK, as seen from the air. Although there are plenty of photographs of various LOFAR stations from the ground, and plenty of diagrams showing the layout of the sites, this is a good opportunity to get a bird's-eye view of what a station looks like.

The credit for all these images goes to Guy Gratton, who took the photographs during the afternoon of Friday 8th April 2011, and who graciously gave permission for their use by the STFC/LOFAR community. The images were taken from an aeroplane flying at an altitude of approximately 300 metres (1000 ft) over the site, through an open door on the aircraft to avoid any window reflections.

The LOFAR-UK site, as seen from the air.
(Photo: Guy Gratton (c) 2011, hosted by STFC.)

The above photograph is a great way to appreciate the scale of an international LOFAR station. The dish near the top of the photograph is the 25m parabola of the Chilbolton Observatory.

Looking specifically at the LOFAR-UK station (LOFAR-ID = UK608). The HBA
is on the left and the LBA is on the right. If you look carefully, you can just
make out the RF-container in the space between where the two fields meet
and the access road. (Photo: Guy Gratton (c) 2011, hosted by STFC.)

Banking away from the LOFAR field, you
can see the Chilbolton 25m dish (Photo:
Guy Gratton (c) 2011, hosted by STFC.)

When you start to move further back, more the surrounding facilities become apparent. Apart from the main 25m dish, there is a small 4.5m dish on the right-hand side, just below the LOFAR compound. (Don't forget you can click on images for a slightly enlarged view.)

Looking at the site from even further away, the
scale of the Chilbolton Observatory becomes clear.
(Photo: Guy Gratton (c) 2011, hosted by STFC.)

Check the STFC's Press and Media Image Library for all high-quality photographs of the LOFAR-UK station. You can also find full-resolution versions of some of the above photographs, suitable for use in printed media. Thanks goes to the Chilbolton Observatory and UK608 project teams, the RAL-Space outreach team and, of course, Guy Gratton for the great photographs.

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