Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope, c 1957.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (scale 1:200) of the Lowell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire. United Steel Companies Companies, who constructed the radio telescope for Manchester University, also built this model, which was designed to detect and map cosmic radio noise. Known as the Mark-1 Telescope, it has a 250 foot (76m) parabolic dish that was directed using early electronic computers. The project to build the telescope was the brainchild of Profesor Bernard Lowell, a pioneer of radio astronomy. The telescope sprung to prominence in 1957, shortly after being commisioned, for its role in tracking the Rusian Spunik probe and later interplanetary spacecraft. It has been continually updated and, despite being 35 years old, is still at the forefront of astronomical research.