MARLINTON, W.Va. — Last week, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank celebrated the 50th birthday of the 140-foot telescope.
During the festivities, scientist Frank Ghigo and visiting scientist David Hogg gave a presentation on the “birth” of the telescope and the initial discoveries made with it in the late 1960s, early 1970s.
When the NRAO was founded in the mid-1950s, the steering committee was discussing plans for telescopes and said the NRAO needed a scope that was at least 600 feet in diameter, Ghigo explained.
Instead, it chose to start small and settled on a 150-foot telescope.
“At the time there were sixty-foot dishes and eighty-foot dishes and the thought was, ‘we’ll just scale up one of those to one hundred fifty-feet,’” Ghigo said. “ ‘We’ll ask a company to build it and it will be practically off the shelf. It’ll be built really quick.’ The steering committee asked for designs.”
The first design was submitted by Husband & Company of Sheffield, England. J.C. Husband designed the Jodrell Bank 250-foot telescope in England and was a consultant to the steering committee for the 150-foot…