DRAO opens its doors to public

The observatory shut down its telescopes for a day of tours and talks

The National Research Council’s Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) opened its doors to the public on Saturday for a day of tours and talks.

The DRAO shut down its telescopes to allow people to come in and take photos and videos of the facility, as well as enjoy some tours and talks that highlighted the work being done at the observatory.

Hundreds of visitors flocked to the site near White Lake in Kaleden for a rare opportunity to get an up-close look at the equipment being used by the scientists and the new telescopes being designed and built on-site.

The staff of the observatory were eager to share their work in the various telescopes on the grounds, from the rail-mounted Synthesis Telescopes that greet visitors as they walk up to the main building, to the towering John A. Galt Telescope.

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Experiment’s radio telescopes dwarfed the tour of visitors standing next to it. Other members of the observatory team were inside the main building’s lab, where parts of telescopes for the Square Kilometre Array in South Africa are being designed and assembled.

Ken Tapping was on hand in the solar observatory, where the information from telescopes tracking the Sun for flares and fluctuations is displayed and processed. Keeping an eye on the solar weather once was about watching auroras in the night sky, but now is more important to people’s everyday lives.

“We started going high-tech in the world, we started being dependent on things like the telegraph, and global networks of communication,” said Tapping to a room full of visitors. “In 1959, the telegraph system was zapped by a solar storm, and they were getting fires and shocks off their equipment. Now, we live in a far more connected world than before, and the Sun can zap satellites, copper wires, and we watch for that.”

Read More: Learn how a radio telescope in the South Okanagan may unlock the mysteries of space

One of the sights at the observatory were the smaller dishes set up on the Synthesis Telescope rails. Just three-metres across, these new telescopes are the first two of 512 planned as part of the Canadian HI Observatory and Radio transient Detector, or CHORD.

CHORD is designed to build on the knowledge that went into the design and construction of CHIME, and the knowledge gained since CHIME went online. Once completed, CHORD will be able to look back even further into the history of the universe, and search for the mysterious Fast Radio Bursts.

The DRAO uses their telescopes for a variety of purposes. CHIME looks into the early days of the universe, tracking radio waves that began travelling to Earth more than 500 billion years ago. Other telescopes track and observe the Sun for solar weather, and others build maps of the entirety of the universe. Together, they help scientists at the DRAO and across the world unravel the secrets of space.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

After delays, Ighani presents no evidence

Afshin Maleki Ighani trail adjourned to Jan. 6

Penticton RCMP do not intend to review sexual assault stats

Eleven out of 29 sexual assault cases in Penticton were deemed unfounded in 2018

Make someone’s holiday a merry one with Penticton’s OneSky Community Resources

The centre has a special Christmas tree with gift requests from its clients

Penticton Fire Department urging caution with decorations

The Penticton Fire Department wants people to be careful with indoor and outdoor decorations

Penticton’s COBS Bread to host parking lot party with Penticton Vees Nov. 24

The event is to fundraise for the Nov. 30 Anti-Bullying Game Night

Get your head out of clouds, North Okanagan

Fall fog sticks around all day in northern portion of valley

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Keremeos Fire Department acquires new truck

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen approves fire truck purchases for Keremeos, Willowbrook

Wharton Street in Summerland open for traffic once again

Road closure had been in place for past five months for upgrade work

Most Read