Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory


Radio Astronomy is the science of studying radio waves of objects in space, with Radio Astronomy we can see the universe in a whole new light so to speak, we can see things not possible with optical telescopes. At The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory they study anything that gives off radio waves, they mostly focus on the gases between stars, remains of exploding stars and our Sun.

The above image is the 26m Radio Telescope, the observatory also has a Synthesis Radio Telescope which is comprised of seven 9m dishes which when synced together produces a radio dish 600m in diameter, this principle instrument is used to image clouds of hydrogen gas emissions from high energy electrons and magnetic fields in space.


The poles and wires in the above image is also a radio telescope, this telescope is comprised of wire attached between poles, it's like a large short wave radio antenna, it's main function is to gather information about our own Milky Way galaxy. We arrived on site Thursday around noon and since there was no tours available I kinda just walked in some back door and was immediately stopped by some lady asking, get this, if I was a scientist, well I do look the part, had a tote bag around my shoulder, a honking big camera around my neck and gray hair, I was about to answer when a fellow scientist interrupted us, I then asked if I could take a look at their equipment, the other scientist said sure, directed me to their 26m control room, said he be by later, and I was off.


What was really cool about this whole adventure , I mean besides being called a scientist is the fact I was left all alone, got some too cool pictures from areas I don't think I was supposed to be in, due to the restricted area signs, I'd be walking around past their lunch room where my fellow scientists were, snapping pics, which by the way I WILL NOT post, otherwise I'd have to kill you and they me. I did take a couple of videos as well, one of the outside and one of just the control center, I will post the outside today, the control center in a later post.

On a final note, I just had to blog about my freelance photography moment. I was taking an image of the Moon in daylight when a couple of bikers drove by and asked if I was a freelance photographer, again looking the part with the gear, I said yes, because I was interested in what they wanted, actually I'm more free then lance, anyways they wanted their pic taken, gave me 20 bucks and I emailed it to them, didn't turn out very good, stupid filter I put on to protect the lens, so I emailed them some of my other freelance work, don't want bikers coming after me.

I'd like to thank livingsword again for suggesting this visit to the observatory. I'll leave you now with my first Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory video, and by the way my new title is, Bob, Freelance Amateur Astronomer Astrophotographer Scientist.....guy, business cards to follow.

47 comments:

Sherer said...

Cool Observatory. Watch out for those bikers. Lol. Question for you: If you had eyes that could precieve light like a camera taking a long exposure, how large would the galaxies look in the sky?

Drowsey Monkey said...

I can't believe you got to do that! lol That's some security system they have. It's kind of like what happens on a sit com when they go to a concert or something and say they're 'with the band'...and then they get back stage! LOL

The photos are very cool...sounds like you had a blast. Especially since you got to have several very cool professions while there!

Tatiana said...

Thanks for sharing great captures and the video, and I loved the story as much as your new title - Bob, Freelance Amateur Astronomer Astrophotographer Scientist.....guy - LOL :) Loved it! Sorry for not having been around and commenting but I am away from home and my Internet connection is slow and by phone and can't do much with it next to the business stuff and all I have to do here - which is a lot. I promise to visit when I can though and thanks for your visits {{{HUGS}}} and will check to see for other cool captures and next video :) Have a great weekend
Tatiana

gt281 said...

"Bob, Freelance Amateur Astronomer Astrophotographer Scientist".....
To me you'll always be AstroBob...

roentarre said...

:proud:

Very good use of Fish eye lens! I love your photographs!

self taught artist said...

good grief you have sure had an amazing vacation! i love that you took pics of the biker dudes. very cool that people thought you were a scientist and free lance photographer. love it love it
glad you got to sneak around and have time with your camera.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Sherer, The galaxies all vary in sizes, from our own milky way which covers a band from north to south, to the andromeda galaxy which covers about the length of about 6 Moons long by 2 wide, to just spots in the sky, they're all sizes. \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Drowsey, it was very cool, all laid back up there, not expecting a frontal in your face attack,lol.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Tatiana good to see you hear , how is your camera working out?\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks gt281, totally forgot about the AstroBob, I'll call my people and get it added on to my card,lol \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks roentarre, glad you like the fisheye, it is my weapon of choice now for capturing images, a lot of fun for landscaping shots, it's the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Paula, I'm having a lot of fun here, my head is getting quite huge

lol \m/\m/

Susanne49 said...

That's the way how the BIG free lance jobs are starting, Bob...LOL...Great story and pictures - and I also liked the birds singing in the background of your video. :-)

Mike said...

Hi Bob! I never got called a scientist. Lucky you! That looks like a really fun trip. Thanks for posting the pictures and video.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Note to self: If two bikers want me to take a pic...run! ROFL...isn't that JUST what happens, Bob. The photo shows two guys having a super time.

The observatory photos are AMAZING!!! I know the fun you must have had checking out all of the good stuff. :D

Hugs, JJ and Jeff...who also loved this post. :D

Marvin the Martian said...

In electronics stores, I always get asked if I work there. That's very annoying. I should frequent radiotelescope sites more often. ;-)

Congratulations!

AngelBaby said...

What a great adventure. Do they know that you filmed everything? If they don't, I don't think I would tell them.

Great pictures and film. It looks like you had a great time.

Love and Blessings,
Angelbaby

Swubird said...

Bob:

Great write up and images of your trip to the radio telescope. Lots of humor. I loved it. Also super video. It made me feel like I was actually there. Was that your daughter who stuck her tongue out? Nice.

Too bad about the shot of the bikers. It was fuzzy. You did the right thing by sending them more pictures though.

I once had an astronomy professor who actually got a job at one of the radio telescopes. Talk about hard to find jobs! Someday I'll tell you about his experience the first time he entered the control room. Stressful.

As always, a great post.

HAve a nice day.

Ruth said...

A great example of being in the right place at the right time. But heck, you are always out there, and that's the first and most important step. It sounds like an amazing experience, one you'll never forget.

Max said...

Hey Bob!

Well, well, well...scientist and freelancer photo man all in the same day LOL LOL! Do you think it is some sort of sign? :D

The observatory is awesome! And I am amazed at how easy it was for you to enter and take pics (those guys are not the least worried about national security, are they lol?); but I am glad you did...they look great!
The most curious part of this article (to me) was the poles and wires radio telescope: it caught my attention because of its apparent simplicity (and yet it captures complex radio signals...very interesting)!

It can be said that LS' suggestion was profitable in every way (you even made $20) :D!

Cheers

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Susanne, the birds singing was real cool a bonus, it was beautiful there.\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Mike, was a real ego booster to be called a scientist for sure.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, me too Marvin, I guess if you look the part, oh and I always answer any questions they may have,lol. \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks AngelBaby, they didn't know, my wife said lets get outta here fast, we did,lol. \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks swubird, I'd like to here about that experience your professor had, would make a good post, that was my daughter,lol. \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Ruth, it was a super good time, and again being at the right place at the right time, lunch time,lol. \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks max, those poles were very interesting, the simplicity of them, they are essentially pointing straight up at our galaxy, very cool. \m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JJ, lol about the bikers, added the icing to the cake, too cool. \m/

The Supplicant said...

Freelance Amateur Astronomer Astrophotographer

Scientist...hmmmm. A whole new category opened to the multitude. You should copyright the position before someone claims it as their idea.

Great post Bob. I love how you just walked in because everyone assumed you were part of the team. Now that's teamwork when they don't even know their own members LOL.

Would have loved to have been with you. We would have had a great laugh.

~JD

Will said...

Thanks for the video! Is this used as part of the search for ET? Quite interesting.

I was hoping to hear you narrating. LOL! You did sneak in a few words near the end, if that was you. The French was an interesting cultural reminder to us south of the border that Canada has had two languages for a lot longer than some in the US have been worrying about the increase in Spanish here.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, JD, we would have had a great time, we could have played off each other Doctor JD,lol \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Will, not used for the search of ET, but it could be, like in the movie contact and how they used the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_Large_Array to discovery a signal from the Vega star system.

That was me, I think I got 3 words in,lol, I was actually going to say something then I saw the guide button and thought , hey too cool, then to add a little for our french neighbours I pushed the french button. :) \m/\m/

Peter said...

Hi Prof. Bob! Looks like you're in heaven. I bet they had trouble tearing you away and I hope your new job comes with a pay rise.

One day when you're downunder perhaps you could visit the Parkes Observatory, just outside the central-west NSW town of Parkes, which hosts the 64 metre Parkes radio telescope. Their site link is:

http://www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au/

Great to see you having fun with the family as well.

As for things falling out of the sky, it wouldn't have been a dropbear, would it?

Take Care,
Peter

Roger said...

Bob you rock! awesome photos!!

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Peter, I would love to see the Parkes Observatory, so rich in history with the Apollo 11 mission and all, very cool.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Roger thanks. \m/\m/

Julie said...

Interesting stuff - good clear video as well. Felt slightly eerie watching it; don't think I've ever been that close to one.

Franx said...

Great observation Bob...Every time I saw your blog always have a great post.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey thanks Julie, it was very cool to be right under it.\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Franx, appreciate your visits as always.\m/

Andrew said...

Hey,Bob, Freelance Amateur Astronomer Astrophotographer Scientist.....guy..a very well suited title I must say!.Perhaps you can visit us here in a few weeks for our annual motorcycle rally?.All you will need is to bring your equipment and dress like a biker to blend in...hahahahahaha!!.
It sounds like you had a awesome trip!!!.
Andrew

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks Andrew, always knew I'd make something of myself,lol

:greenalien:

priyank said...

Cooool stuff - Bob, the photographer. The Observatory seems very nice. I knew you were smarter than the security sysyems ;)

Livingsword said...

Hi Bob;

Well I have finally made it over to your place after being on vacation!

Very cool telescope images Bob!!! (Chocolate Girl is quite impressed)

LOL Do all scientist have grey hair? LOL I mean how about Spock? Hmmm do you have pointy ears?

On the open house day we had a tour thru almost every room in the place so I am sure that your fellow scientists were quite happy to show of the facility to an admirer particularly since they certainly visit your celeb space blog……ohhh celeb scientist-blogger-photographer-paparazzi….

LOL I said all that before reading your rendition!

You are very welcome Bob, I knew you would have a good time there, and now we get to benefit by your adventure!

I love the Mars globe in the video! The video gives great notice as to the size of the telescope. I also liked the birds tweeting and is that you humming now and then? Oh my look at all those dandelions! Growing like weeds! (one mans weeds is another mans flowers). Great weather you had!

Bob I personally pushed the same info button for the telescope and listened to the same message!!!!! LOL It is almost like we have actually met, just like with the Ogopogo!!! LOL

Great video Paparazzi Bob!

I remember hearing Jupiter and thinking how it sounded like snow sliding off the roof in the middle of winter when I lived in the Rockies. LOL

Ohhh talking and giggling! And tongue sticking out LOL I love it!!!!

Paul said...

Cool Observatory. Watch out for those bikers. Lol. Question for you: If you have eyes can precieve light as a camera taking a long exposure, how big the galaxy will look in the sky? Social Media News Directory Submission Classified Ad Submission Article Submission

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