After a long period of maintenance work, the Lovell Telescope is back in action!
Since the spring of 2018, a number of tasks have been undertaken on the Telescope including painting, steelwork repairs, and a major project to fully replace the original 1957 Telescope surface.
The first major upgrade to the Telescope took place in 1970-71 when a new reflecting surface with a shallower curve was added above the original. The original surface was left in place underneath as an integral part of the structure. It is this original surface that you can see from beneath the Telescope and which has been recently replaced.
The work involved to replace the original surface was significant and took place over the last two consecutive summers -when the days are longer and the weather is (usually!) better. Throughout the work, the Telescope has been out of action and parked in the zenith, pointing directly upward.
While the project is not quite complete, last Friday, the giant Lovell Telescope was nevertheless back in action and staff and visitors all came out to watch it move again. The last ring of panels are still to be replaced however, and if you look closely, you’ll be able to spot a slight gap between the original surface underneath and the 1970-71 surface on top.
Parts of the original surface have been carefully kept for use in our National Lottery Heritage Funded project, First Light, celebrating the history of the Observatory. At the heart of the project will be a new exhibition using these carefully preserved sections of the surface.