The Dwingeloo telescope is being maintained by a volunteer organisation called CAMRAS: www.camras.nl. They use the radio telescope for activities for the public and for schools. You can also find more information on the Facebook pages of the Dwingeloo Radio Telescope.
The Dwingeloo radiotelescoop has played an extraordinary role in astronomy. At the time of the inauguration of this telescope in 1956, this instrument, with its 25-metre dish was the biggest radio telescope in the world. The Dwingeloo telescope is the basis of the current Dutch prominent position in the world of radio astronomy.
The Dwingeloo telescope is famous for its discoveries. One of these discoveries is the structure of gas clouds around our Milky way. Hydrogen send out radio waves on a frequency of 1420 MHz, for which the Dwingeloo telescope is very sensitive. Just as sound (e.g. the siren of an ambulance), radio waves change when the source moves. This is called the Doppler effect.
The same happens with the hydrogen: from the change of the frequency around 1420 MHz we can see that some clouds of hydrogen move through the Universe, while others move towards us.
With this effect, the Dwingeloo telescope was able to map the movements and structure of gas clouds around us. Almost all gas clouds seemed to match the band of stars that form the Milky way. Besides this, large spiral arms were visible in the gas clouds. Our sun and earth seemed to be in the middel of a spiral shaped galaxy.
Top: distribution of hydrogen as 'seen' with the Dwingeloo telescope. The light band is hydrogen shining bright and matches the band of stars that forms the Milky Way. The centre of our Milky way is just visible, at the cross on the middle-right. © Hartmann & Burton.
Below: the same sky as the human eye sees it under good circumstances. Here the stars itself are mainly visible as small light dots and interstellar dust clouds obscure further visbility. © Mellinger.
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