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May 6

Dwingeloo, Netherlands

Dwingeloo Radio Observatory

This giant radio telescope would be a rusting ruin if it hadn't become such a beloved relic  

At one point the huge Dwingeloo Radio Observatory held the honor of being the largest telescope of its kind in the world, but those glory days are long since passed. However, despite being taken out of official service, the beloved satellite dish telescope is still alive and kicking thanks to an appreciation of its astronomical contributions.

Completed in 1956, the the Dwingeloo telescope was easily the biggest radio telescope in the world with its 82-foot in diameter metal dish. The size of the telescope was reinforced by the small operations house nestled beneath the dish itself, that would spin right along with the mammoth telescope. During its early years of operation it was able to produce limited galactic maps using radio signals.

As with all technology though, the beastly telescope eventually became obsolete. Bigger and better facilities were constructed, and by 2000 it had fallen out of favor and was no longer used by any large scale research projects. Luckily, its contributions to the field of radio astronomy and its enduring legacy did not go unnoticed, and the site was named a Dutch Industrial Heritage site in 2009. In 2012 the huge dish was even taken off of its mounting and refurbished, bringing the facility back to working order.

Today the decades old giant is still used by amateur astronomers for project such as sending communications by bouncing them off of the moon. She may be pushing 60, but the old girls still got it.

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