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Southern Manufacturing & Electronics

Farnborough, Hants(GU14 6XL)

11/02/2020 - 13/02/2020

Southern Manufacturing and Electronics is the most comprehensive annual industrial exhibition in the (more)

Amateur astronomer plans to map galaxy's structure

Amateur astronomer plans to map galaxy's structure Should you happen to come across John McKay's house, high in the hills above Settle, North Yorkshire, you might think that you had stumbled into a scene from 'Last of the Summer Wine'. In a field behind the house you will find a strange, dish-shaped construction and perhaps a retired gentleman or two working on it. On closer examination, it turns out to be a fully functional homemade radio telescope. This is not a prank for the amusement of BBC viewers but, in fact, a serious amateur astronomer's very accurate tool of the trade. And thanks to the encoder team at Sick-Stegmann. Builder and operator John McKay retired from the Merchant Navy in 1991 and decided soon after that if he had the time he would like to build a six-foot telescope to help him with his astronomy hobby. He designed and built it himself and it was completed in 1996. After seven years of very successful operation McKay wanted to look even further into the galaxy and so decided to build a 12-foot telescope. The accuracy of both the azimuth and altitude positioning owes much to the top of the range Sick-Stegmann ARS60 encoders that are used. The 15-bit shaft encoders producing 32,768 steps per turn are fitted to the final drive of both the azimuth and altitude gearboxes. Theoretically, the ARS60 will give a pointing accuracy of 40arc-sec (approximately 0.01 degrees).
 

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