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U-M's Radio Telescope Now Nearing Completion

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U-M’s Radio Telescope Now Nearing Completion

Mountain in Dexter township 16 miles west of Ann Arbor.

The University's 10-story tall $300,000 radio telescope is now being completed on Peach Mountain in Dexter township 16 miles west of Ann Arbor.

Workmen are assembling the saucer-shaped aluminum “dish” reflector which will pick up radio signals from the sun and other objects in outer space. Completion date is set for next month, but telescopic observations won't start until next spring.

The steerable radio telescope, which is 85 feet wide at the reflector part, will be considered one of the finest of its type in the world for mapping radio waves from the universe in fine detail, U-M officials report.

Prof. Fred Haddock, director of the telescope project, said the dish will be 1,100 feet above sea level and will operate on a 24-hour-a-day basis whenever weather permits. He added that a building must be erected to house the intricate receiver which charts radio waves of only a few centimeters in length from distant galaxies, some of which are beyond the range of optical telescopes.

Besides providing information through its operation, the telescope will offer a training program for faculty and students in the relatively new field of radio astronomy.

The construction project has utilized 160 tons of steel and aluminum, 60 tons of lead counterweight and about 400 cubic yards of concrete foundation.

The new telescope is the second on Peach Mountain. Last year, a 28-foot wide unit was erected for solar observations and, according to Prof. Haddock, has produced some new and unusual signals from the sun.

STUDY IN CONTRASTS: Mathias H. Winsnes, an associate research engineer for the University Research Institute, stands at a model of the U-M’s new 85-foot reflector of a new radio telescope. Behind him on Peach Mountain in Dexter township is the framework of the actual reflector, which will be put in use next spring.