MRAO: AMI Large Array
As the public outreach officer in the [Cavendish Astrophysics group] at the University of Cambridge its part of my job to [organise tours around the telescope] (the MRAO – [Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory]) for school groups and scientific interest groups. I’ve recently taken quite a few different groups around, from visitors from afar (Strasbourg and Brussels) to those from just up the road (Kings Lynn AS). I thought it might be a good idea to post some information on some of the telescopes you can see on here with some of the photos I’ve taken as I know its not always possible for groups to get out to the observatory.
So lets get started with AMI – The Arcminute Microkelvin Imager. AMI consists of a pair of interferometric radio telescopes – the Small and Large Arrays – here I’m going to focus on the large array.
The Large Array is made up of eight 12.8-metre-diameter. These are all equatorial mounted parabolic antennas and were originally part of the Ryle Telescope. The antennas are separated by distances ranging between 18 and 110 m. This means the telescope has an angular resolution of around 30 arcseconds. The Large Array is used to image radio sources, these are mostly galaxies, that produce contamination in the Small Array observations of the cosmic microwave background, i.e. the telescope has a better resolution so can remove the structure.