Oroville fifth-graders visit radio telescope at Monse

Students in small groups climbed several sets of steps to climb up to a small room below the radio telescope dish, which is part of the Very Long Baseline Array that comprises 10 of these antennae to gather radio waves from outer space. Photos by Dave Tay

Students in small groups climbed several sets of steps to climb up to a small room below the radio telescope dish, which is part of the Very Long Baseline Array that comprises 10 of these antennae to gather radio waves from outer space. Photos by Dave Tay

MONSE – On May 25, Dave Taylor’s fifth-grade class took a field trip to Monse to visit the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope antenna.

This is the big satellite dish that can be seen close the river at Monse. The antenna is one ten that make a 5,300 mile array forming one huge radio telescope which receives radio waves from outer space.

The students were very impressed with the size of the dish – 85-feet in diameter and ten stories high. They had to hike up several flights of ladders then walk across a hanging wobbly bridge before entering the two-story room just below the dish. The climb made some of the students very dizzy. Those two rooms are packed with instruments for receiving information – lots of stainless steel and hospital clean.

Then we toured the small brown building where all the information is gathered on disk packs sent to New Mexico where they read the information from all ten antennae.

We would like thank Mr. Hofmann for his patience and hospitality. He had to make many trips up those steps because the groups had to be kept small.

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