Over the summer we’ll be taking the time to give the Lovell Telescope some well-deserved TLC. During the next 8 weeks, a range of essential maintenance works will be carried out on the famous structure, including cleaning, welding, and painting. -Look closely on your next visit and you may even spot some of our engineers hard at work!
Firstly, they’ll undertake a cleaning process involving high-pressured water and air tools to remove loose paint from the surface. Next, welding repairs will take place including a range of low and high complexity cutting, cleaning and welding of the metalwork.
Finally, four coats of white paint will be applied (a primer, strip coat on sharp edges such as rivets and bolts, an undercoat and a top coat). The choice of white paint for the iconic structure is actually very deliberate as white helps to keep steel temperatures to a minimum, stabilising the expansion and contraction of the metalwork.
While many would think it easier to spray-paint an instrument of this magnitude, paint drift could make Christmas come early! So the telescope will be painted using brushes and rollers at height.
The Lovell Telescope’s important scientific research continues to contribute to the latest discoveries in radio astronomy. Pretty amazing for a structure which had the initial design life of between 15 and 20 years; the Lovell Telescope is now 63 years old! Its ongoing maintenance is therefore essential to its continued research but also important for the preservation of the significant heritage of Jodrell Bank, the UK’s latest UNESCO World Heritage Site.
See you soon.