SPIDER 500A MarkII radio telescope installed in Planetarium – Silesian Science Park (Poland)

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A new SPIDER 500A MarkII  radio telescope, with 5 meter diameter antenna, has just being installed at the Planetarium – Silesian Science Park in Poland! The radio telescope, that will be used for educational and outreach activities, has been manufactured by PrimaLuceLab in its italian headquarters, then shipped to the customer location: then PrimaLuceLab Installation Team moved to Planetarium – Silesian Science Park, assembled the antenna with tracking system and pier, connected all the devices in the remote control room (radio astronomy receiver with backend, fiber optic links and computer with RadioUniversePRO software) and had a training session.


Planetarium – Silesian Science Park is the oldest, largest and most modern facility of this type in Poland. In order to accomodate the large 5 meter diameter antenna, a dedicated concrete base has been built between the main building and the tree line surrounding the observatory. Here PrimaLuceLab installation team first of all connected the large C400-HEAVY high load capacity pier that has been set in vertical position.



Then, the WEB500-5  antenna has been assembled: this 5 meter diameter prime focus is provided with special front and rear supports that have been designed in order to keep the main reflector in the optimal parabolic shape and to provide the necessary support also in case of strong wind conditions. On top of the rear support, the 12 parts of the parabolic reflector have been assembled and fixed in place by using special locking system.



Next, the front supports for H-FEED have been installed on the antenna and the GS-400II weatherproof alt-az antenna tracking system has been moved on top of the pier by using a lifting machine, since GS400-II weight is 350 Kg. Finally, by using the same lifting machine, the 5 meter diameter antenna has been moved on top of the GS-400II tracking system and PrimaLuceLab Installation Team locked the 2 elements.


SPIDER 500A MarkII radio telescope installed in Planetarium - Silesian Science Park (Poland)


In order to provide remote control from the institute, the Radio-over-fiber kit has also been installed, this way allowing the transmission of signal captured from the antenna to very long distances. The optical converter is installed directly on the feed and the fiber optic cable, that runs to the control room, has been connected. In the control room, PrimaLuceLab Team installed all the devices, including the H142-One 1420 MHz radio astronomy receiver and the CMP-19 remote control computer, where RadioUniversePRO software has been installed, in a 19″ rack.



After all the devices composing SPIDER 500A MarkII radio telescope have been connected and verified, PrimaLuceLab Team executed the first radio telescope calibration by aligning it to the sky. The installation work completed with a training session where the team explained how to use SPIDER 500A MarkII radio telescope by using the supplied RadioUniversePRO software, collect and process radio astronomy data.


SPIDER 500A MarkII radio telescope installed in Planetarium - Silesian Science Park (Poland)