The iconic Jodrell Bank Observatory is taking its first major steps to resume scientific operations after lockdown as part of what is probably the biggest ‘reboot’ in astrophysics.
After the longest shut-down in their history, the first set of telescopes at the observatory are being switched on so they can once again contribute new data to the international science community.
The Mark II radio telescope has already successfully re-joined the European VLBI Network (EVN), a partnership of radio telescopes located in Europe but also Asia and additional antennas in South Africa and Puerto Rico. The EVN performs very high angular resolution observations of cosmic radio sources – and the only network of its kind capable of real-time observations.
To the great relief of observatory staff, data from the Mark II telescope was transferred to the Netherlands, where they were successfully correlated against the other European telescopes, including the Yebes 40-metre telescope in Spain. “The data looks great – so this is a real milestone in getting Jodrell re-connected to our international community,” said Professor Mike Garrett, Director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.