GMRT. That's Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope for those of you who don't know. It's the world's largest metrewave radio telescope. We went there last friday to have a look. I'd initially thought that the radio dishes were fairly small. I was horribly mistaken of course, and the realisation dawned upon me when I saw this.
'What it do?', you might ask, if you actually like the song by Li'l Flip and Mannie Fresh. The sane ones, though, tend to wonder what it does, and how. So I'll tell you. There are thirty dish antennae like the one you've just seen, set up in a Y shaped array. This behaves like a very large receptor for radio waves. These radio waves are broken down and processed. What you get is a picture of the universe (or you, if you somehow manage to hang in front of the array for long enough), in the radio band. Radio waves travel through dust clouds, so you can actually see behind stellar obstructions. Additionally, radio telescopes are active twenty-four hours a day, as compared to the total darkness required by optical telescopes. Fascinating stuff, such as pulsars, has been discovered by use of radio astronomy.
We visited the control room, from which the entire array is, err, controlled. There was this massive server there, that we have grand plans for. We plan to use it as a large bandwidth gaming server. No really. Why do you laugh?
As usual, there was also the major distraction. Photography. Very conveniently, the site
had approximately infinite scenes that make for brilliant photography, but time only allowed for a few snaps. Here are a couple.