Building the MWA – Day 7

We’re nearing the end of the trip now, another couple of days and we’ll be finished and on our way back to Perth. Today we continued with tack welding the three mesh sheets previously laid at each site to form a single electronically conductive sheet.

The “Daves” (Dave Pallot and Dave Emrich) welding the mesh sheets.

As we completed the core of the telescope yesterday, the majority of the sites targeted today were 100’s of metres apart, separated by thick bush and scrub. To locate each we rely on a GPS fix and a handheld device that gives us a distance and rough direction from our current position. As we have already driven through the bush to each site on a previous occasion, more often than not we were fortunate to find our previous tyre tracks to help guide us to the tile we were looking for.

Despite pushing through some pretty dense bush at times, the experience we’ve gained in the past few days helped us to avoid puncturing any more tyres. In fact the whole day went very smoothly, with the team working well and no major problems to speak of except for a few delays here and there due to jams in the welding equipment, which our expert welders soon took care of.

Engineer Dave Emrich fixing one of the welding rigs.

By days end we’d finished welding 51 sites, on top of the 60 we completed yesterday this leaves us with only 17 to do tomorrow before packing up and preparing our equipment for the next team to come up in a few weeks time. Their job will be to assemble and attach all of the dipole receiving elements to ready the tile to be connected back to receivers and correlators, forming a working radio telescope.

This is what each finished tile will look like.

A completed MWA tile. This one was part of 32T, a 32 tile prototype.

Taking some time out to practice my juggling skills.

Taking a well earned few minutes of rest.


About Pete

I'm a professional science communicator working for the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth, Western Australia. I love to travel, take pictures, experience new things and occasionally write about them.
This entry was posted in Astronomy, ICRAR, Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory, Murchson Widefield Array, MWA, Radio Astronomy, Radio Telescopes, Square Kilometre Array and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Building the MWA – Day 7

  1. ED series -> T1 -> 32T -> 128T … -> 10% SKA Low … -> SKA Low … -> Lunar Array 🙂

  2. petewheeler says:

    I’ll volunteer for laying tiles on the Moon.

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