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Irbene Radio astronomy centre | Irbenes radioastronomijas centrs

Irbene Radio Astronomy Centre is one of engineering wonders left from Soviet times. Hidden in the woods of Northern Kurzeme, it was so secret in Soviet times, that larger public didn't had a clue about it's existence. There were 3 radio telescopes (now has been left two) which USSR used to spy on radio signals. The diametre of this (largest) antenna dish is 32 metres (weight - 600 tonnes) which makes it the 8th largest radio telescope in the world. By the way, it is designed to endure a 50 m/s strong wind - but not because of the possible storms (there are no such a strong storms here) but because of possible nuclear explosion (the impact speed of nuclear explosion is 50m/s). Soviet military tried their best to destroy the telescopes when they left the place in 1994 but for some reason (probably they hoped to be back soon) they didn't cut the main cable, after which the system's restoration would have been "impossible", as guide told us. Nowadays, with the funding of EU, the telescope has been turned to scientific purposes - it "listens" the sounds of most distant corners of Universe. Still, the financial situation of the scientists who works there is sad - completely dependent only on EU projects money. That's why they have decided to gain additional money by providing tourist excursions there. However, if you wonder about visiting this place - most likely it won't be possible for at least a year. As you see in the photo, there is a crane, and exactly on Monday (23th September) there will start a major reconstruction of the telescope. [full_width]
Irbene Radio astronomy centre | Irbenes radioastronomijas centrs Reviewed by Ikars Kublins on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 Rating: 5

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