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Jodrell Bank(jod -rĕl) The site near Holmes Chapel in Cheshire, about 30 kilometers south of the center of Manchester, UK, of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, part of the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Manchester. Originally founded in 1947 and later known for a time as Manchester University's Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories, the observatory has played an active role in all branches of radio astronomy during the later 20th and early 21st centuries and has been at the forefront of pioneering research on such subjects as quasars and pulsars. Jodrell Bank's principal instrument is the Lovell Telescope(originally called the Mark I), a 76.2-meter (250-foot) fully steerable radio dish on an altazimuth mounting. This telescope has been in operation since 1957 and was formally named in 1987 for Sir Bernard Lovell, the observatory's first director (1951–81). It gained popular fame soon after it was completed by successfully tracking the world's first artificial satellite Sputnik I, It later went on to track many satellites and space probes in addition to carrying out its main radio astronomy programs. Modifications made to the telescope in 1970–71 included changes to the supporting structure and the fitting of a new reflecting membrane having an improved shape and longer focal length (22.9 m). In 2002 further refurbishments were completed, including the fitting of another new reflecting surface, this one of galvanized steel panels employing a recently developed holographic technique to ensure that the panels fit more accurately to the required parabolic shape. As a result of these upgrades, the Lovell will perform well at wavelengths of 6 cm and below. There is also a smaller elliptical-shaped reflector, the Mark II, 38 × 25.4 meters. This was completed in 1964 and can be used effectively at wavelengths down to 3 cm. Both instruments are part of the radio network MERLIN, whose component telescopes are controlled from Jodrell Bank.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006