Tuesday, November 15, 2011

C.O.R.Y. gets to work, exploring the skies

CORY (Image: Blackrock Castle Observatory)
After receiving hundreds of entries to their Name the Big Dish competition, Blackrock Castle Observatory have chosen a winner. Drum roll please....

Rebecca Cantwell from Regina Mundi in Douglas, Cork came up with the winning name: C.O.R.Y., which stands for "Computer Operated Radio Yoke".

BCO said in a statement that the name "shows not only Rebecca’s Cork wit but also her knowledge of astronomy and science".

Rebecca joined NASA astronaut Greg Johnson in activating and lighting up CORY last night when it officially began receiving visual and audio signals from space - making it the largest radio dish available for educational purposes in Europe!

The 32 metre dish is based at the National Space Centre, at Elfordstown Earthstation near Midleton in Co. Cork and was originally constructed in 1984 to carry transatlantic telephone calls from Europe to the US. It was retired from this function in the mid 90's when underground cables were laid.

Now, in a partnership between the National Space Centre and Cork Institute of Technology, the dish is being refurbished to act as a state-of-the-art educational and research tool.

Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD with CORY (Image: Blackrock Castle Observatory)
Dr Niall Smith, Head of Research at CIT, who outlined Phase I and Phase II of the project said that “This project will see a €10m radio telescope brought back to life for less than €10,000 thanks to the partnership between National Space Centre and CIT. It’s a great example of using world-class infrastructure in the most cost-effective way to reach out into the community and to embed our growing scientific heritage alongside our world-renowned culture.

It will excite students in schools who will get to listen in on the radio signals from outer space; it will be a testbed for engineering and science projects from primary through to PhD; it will be available to researchers from across Ireland and beyond; it will be an iconic structure only minutes from the famous Jameson Distillery, which we hope in the future to open to tourists and public alike.”

Phase 1 of the project to refurbish the telescope is now complete and next year it is hoped to see the further refurbishment of the dish allowing it to turn and slew as it originally did, along with the installation of new sensors and receivers.

The dish is capable of detecting a host of cosmic phenomena including:

    the emission of giant slow moving hydrogen clouds
    the violent explosions of stars
    eruptions of the solar surface
    storms on Jupiter
    enormous galaxy-scale jets of quasars

The switch-on ceremony took place as part of Science Week, which continues until next Sunday.


  © Communicate Science; Blogger template 'Isolation' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2012

Back to TOP