This year marks the 60th anniversary of the commissioning of the 250-ft telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory, and the 50th anniversary of the discovery of pulsars at Cambridge. Both events resulted in enduring astronomical researches that have become intimately entwined, and here we celebrate them with a brief historical account of their relationship. We describe how the completion of the telescope in October 1957 coincided with the launch of Sputnik 1 at the start of the space race, a timely circumstance that was the financial saviour of Bernard Lovell’s ambitious project. The telescope established a vital role in space tracking and, by the time that pulsars were discovered a decade later, was supported by an infrastructure that allowed their prompt, successful observation. Technical innovations to both the telescope and its receivers since then have continued to make it a superb tool for world-leading pulsar investigations and the study of the radio Universe.
Nature Astronomy – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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