SPIDER 500A installed in Kielder Observatory (UK)
Kielder Observatory, a public astronomical observatory providing great outreach activities, now has also a SPIDER 500A radio telescope for radio astronomy to let visitors experience the cosmos even in daytime or in typical UK cloudy conditions. PrimaLuceLab Installation Team completed the installation of the 5 meter diameter instrument with receivers, environmental sensors and software in the control room and provided training service to the astronomers of Kielder Observatory.
The SPIDER 500A radio telescope is weatherproof and, with a 1 ton weight, it needs for a properly made concrete base that Kielder Observatory prepared based on specifications provided by PrimaLuceLab. The radio telescope is remotely controlled from a control room located in Kielder Observatory.
The antenna has to be connected to the control room with an underground conduit where PrimaLuceLab Installation Team inserted all the cables needed for radio telescope data and power: fiber optic cable that connects antenna LNA units to radio astronomy receiver, cable that provide power and data for the mount and cable for noise generator.
By using a proper lifting machine, the C400-HEAVY high load capacity pier has been removed from the shipping crates and installed on the concrete base provided with threaded bars. Then it has been properly levelled to insure a perfect horizontal base for the mount to be installed on the top plate.
Then PrimaLuceLab Installation Team started the assembly of the 5 meter diameter antenna. By connecting all the parts of the primary reflector and the rear supports, the large antenna has been completed.
By using high load capacity cords, the antenna (that now weights 350 Kgs) has been lifted an moved closed to the C400-HEAVY pier, together with the WP-400 alt-az waterproof computerized mount.
By using the lifting machine, the WP-400 Alt-Az mount has been lifted and installed on top of the C400-HEAVY pier. Here it has been fixed with all the electric components and motors sealed against weather effects.
Then, the 5 meter diameter antenna has been lifted by the same lifting machine and has been connected to the upper plate of the WP-400 mount with many and large locking screws. This mechanism locks the antenna in safety position.
PrimaLuceLab Installation Team installed the 1420 MHz optimised H-FEED with LNA units and fiber optic converters. Then the team completed the installation of all the cables running from the antenna prime focus down to the underground conduit.
In the meantime, in the control room inside Kielder Observatory, PrimaLuceLab Installation Team prepared receiver with backend, radio telescope control and power unit, ultrasonic wind sensor and all-sky camera, everything connected to the control computer where RadioUniversePRO software has been installed.
Finally the control computer has been powered on, and RadioUniversePRO software has been started to control the SPIDER 500A radio telescope and collect radio astronomy data. PrimaLuceLab team provided training session to Kielder Observatory astronomers, by showing the user interface and suggestions on how to use the SPIDER 500A radio telescope.