The Jodrell Bank Observatory is a very special place. It is one of the most significant places, worldwide, that played a role in the development of the new science of Radio Astronomy. This year we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of astronomy at Jodrell Bank.
We launched our year-long anniversary programme on 14th December 2016, 70 years to the day since Sir Bernard Lovell first began scanning the skies from Jodrell Bank.
Many people do not realise that, until Radio Astronomy emerged, Astronomy was carried out using solely optical telescopes (telescopes that we can look through to see objects in the night sky). Radio Astronomy was one of the first steps towards Modern Astrophysics, which also uses the rest of the ‘invisible’ light (e.g. infra red, ultra violet, X-rays, radio waves) that comes to us from objects around us in space.
The Jodrell Bank site has seen many important developments in this science and is home to pieces of equipment and buildings (many still in use) that generated important scientific results that changed our view of the Universe around us.
In recognition of this importance, the Lovell Telescope is a Grade 1 listed structure and Jodrell Bank is on the UK shortlist (the ‘Tentative List’) for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
We have recently begun a formal programme of work to gather together records and stories about our heritage from people who live in our area, who work here or worked here in the past – some of whom are now in countries far away. This work will be continuing over the next three to five years – we will post updates on it here as it progresses.
We are also working on our first Conservation Management Plan, which will bring together records and planning of much of the work carried out here to conserve our telescopes and buildings, and also identify a workplan for us for the future.
The heritage work at Jodrell Bank is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of our ‘First Light at Jodrell Bank’ project.
Jodrell Bank visit to Sir Bernard Lovell Academy, Oldland Common
In early October 2016, three members of the Jodrell Bank Discovery team – education team leaders Julia and Jamie and Heritage Officer Liz – travelled down to Oldland Common, near Bristol, to assist with preparations for a blue plaque on the childhood home of founder and first director of Jodrell Bank observatory, Bernard Lovell. We […]
20 July 1969: Jodrell Bank telescope tracked Eagle lander onto the surface of the Moon
On this day (20 July) in 1969, the Apollo 11 Eagle lander module containing astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first manned space mission to land on the Moon. Fours later on 21 July 1969, Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon, issuing the oft-quoted line, “That’s one small […]
On this day, 21 June, in 1946 Bernard Lovell sent a fifteen-page report to his former PhD supervisor and now academic collaborator Patrick Blackett about his early research using redundant wartime radar apparatus to detect cosmic rays. His experiments began with failed attempts in central Manchester between 12 September 1945 and then continued at Jodrell […]
12 June 1957: Lovell Telescope first rotated in azimuth
In 1949, Bernard Lovell decided to construct a 250-ft steerable telescope, which would enable him to examine cosmic rays, meteors, and the radio waves from the deepest reaches of the universe. Lovell worked closely with Sheffield engineer H. C. Husband and by 1952 construction had begun. By 1957, construction of the Lovell telescope (or Mark […]
Jodrell Bank : The Kubrick Connection
Photo Credits : Anthony Holloway Early in October 2014, we were delighted to be able to form a creative partnership with Abandon Normal Devices (AND) in order to deliver ‘Watch the Skies’ a weekend celebration of Sci-Fi film at Jodrell Bank as part of the British Film Institute’s ‘Days of Fear and Wonder’ series. The […]
August is Heritage Month at Jodrell Bank!
Heritage Month: Celebrating 70 years at Jodrell Bank As part of a major heritage project, and with support from the Heritage lottery Fund, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is marking 70 years at Jodrell Bank with a month-long celebration of exhibitions, shows and events. Discover the stories behind this unique site through walking tours, heritage trails, […]
The Luna 9 ‘Space Hack’ – 4th Feb 1966
This week we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the audacious ‘Space Hack’ carried out at Jodrell Bank on 4th Feb 1966. Jodrell Bank was deeply involved in monitoring the early space race between the USA and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was far out in the lead with its Luna Programme and in […]
Protected: The Lovell Telescope at 60: Jodrell Bank Reunion
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‘First Light at Jodrell Bank’ – our HLF project
In April this year, we were delighted to hear that we were awarded support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for our ‘First Light at Jodrell Bank’ project. This is a major step forward for us in our work to conserve and celebrate the heritage of Jodrell Bank. The University is currently investing in two major […]
When was the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank first switched on
The Mark I Telescope at Jodrell Bank (now the Lovell Telescope) as it looked after completion in 1957. 11th October I’ve seen a few tweets today stating something along the lines of “On this day, 1957, the largest radio telescope in the world was switched on at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire.” I don’t know […]