Big spikey telescope plus small furry animals = no contest

LoFAR, the Low Frequency Array, is set to be an enormous venture. With results already coming through and a grand opening by the Queen of the Netherlands, the radio interferometer has various fields of telescopes located in various parts of the world. Each of these telescopes, in the form of antennae, feed information back to a Dutch supercomputer. This then stitches the information together in a process known as interferometry. This allows the telescopes to act as one enormous instrument, the size of continents, with a resolution equivalent to a single telescope whose mirror is the size of the separation of the various components. The sensitivity of the telescope is equivalent to the sum of the individual sensitivities of the component telescopes.

All very clever, all very big, all very high tech. But the UK contribution has a problem.


They eat the cables holding the antennae upright. Winchester is not alone in being the target of furry aggression, but they are taking measures to prevent it. A fence is being erected, with the hope of its completion before the box like antennae of the next stage of telescope construction go into the ground. These, it has been noted, are very welcoming homes for the little furry visitors…


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