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The future look of reflector telescopes?

Submitter: Wim van Cappellen
Description: The DIGESTIF focal plane array has been mounted in Telescope 5 of the WSRT. Resembling a framed (abstract) painting, it looks like it has always been there. Is this the future look of reflector telescopes?

During the last few months, the telescope has been prepared for the array. As many as 62 coax cables (seen on the left) have been installed in the telescope to transport the analog signals from the focus box to the back-end in the container (on the photo above, the coax cables still had to be fed into the focus box). The focus box itself has largely been stripped. Not only the MFFE is removed, but as you can see also the LFFE and the UHF low antennas are moved away.

The array is a dual polarised Vivaldi array, totaling 112 elements. Now that the array is installed, we will continue to integrate and test the other components of the system. The DIGESTIF system will be used to evaluate the focal plane array concept, especially its sensitivity, beam forming, calibration and imaging. The array will remain in the telescope at least until next year. We are looking forward with excitement to the first measurement results!
Copyright: ASTRON, 2007.
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