More geeky photographs
Left: Red Tower elevation bearing (higher res) Right: The Swinging Lab and an engineer, with Green Tower (and the Cheshire plains) in the background (higher res) CREDIT: Megan
Two more photos from my trip up the Lovell telescope. Wednesday is generally maintenance day, when the telescope is "parked" pointing straight up at the zenith. This is the only time the walkways under the bowl line up with the doorways out of the towers and so is the only time people can really get onto most of the structure.
The photo on the left shows one of two elevation bearings (one is in each of the towers) which move the bowl in the up-down direction. This one is on Red Tower (the other one is known as Green Tower, so labelled because of the colour of the paint on the floor) and is where the Peregrines have been nesting. Luckily for us, they nested in a part of the structure which does not tilt when the telescope moves so they are not disturbed by the telescope's movements. The photo on the right shows one of the engineers who was working up on the telescope inspecting some of the girders for damage (you might be able to see that he is wearing a harness which is securing him to a girder, the telscope is a dangerous place to work, and it's a long way down). To the left of him you can see a small cabin hanging from under the bowl. This is the old Swinging Lab which was used back in the early days by the astronomers when they were making their observations. When the telescope tilts, the lab stays level so that you can work in there no matter where the telescope is pointing on the sky. Now though it is not used and we make our observations from the safety of the control building.
Even after coming here every day for the best part of three years now, the excitement of seeing the telescope still hasn't worn off. I'm not sure it ever will. I can't help but get excited on the rare occasions I actually get to go up.
I know, sad aren't I?