Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
DRAO main building and 26m dish
DRAO main building and 26m dish
Organization Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
Location Okanagan Falls, British Columbia
Altitude 545 metres (1,788 ft)
Established 1960 (1960)
Official site
DRAO Synthesis Telescope radio interferometer
DRAO 26m dish radio telescope
Solar flux monitor radio solar telescope

The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory is a research facility founded in 1960 and located south-west of Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, Canada. The site houses three instruments – an interferometric radio telescope, a 26-m single-dish antenna, and a solar flux monitor – and supports engineering laboratories. The DRAO is operated by the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics of the National Research Council of the Canadian government. The observatory was named an IEEE Milestone for first radio astronomical observations using VLBI.[1]


Synthesis telescope[edit]

DRAO Synthesis Telescope

The interferometric array consists of seven nine-meter, metal-mesh dish antennas along a 600-m east-west line. The antennas are equipped with single-circular polarisation receivers at 408 MHz and dual circular receivers at 1420 MHz, from which all four Stokes parameters may be formed. A spectrometer may also be employed at 1420 MHz for study of the 21-cm hydrogen line.[2]

26-meter telescope[edit]

DRAO 26m dish

The single metal-mesh antenna can be equipped to observe at 408 MHz and at 1.5, 2.7, 4.9, 6.6, and 8.4 GHz, including the hydrogen line near 1.4 GHz, the OH lines around 1.6 GHz, and the methanol line near 6.6 GHz.[3]

Solar-flux monitor[edit]

Solar flux monitor

The monitor consists of two solid-surface dish antennas simultaneously observing at 10.7-cm wavelength, located near Penticton, British Columbia.[4] [5]


In addition to observing facilities, the DRAO operates design and manufacturing laboratories for receivers and electronics. Projects include equipment for external observatories, such as the Very Large Array and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "List of IEEE Milestones". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 4 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "DRAO Synthesis Telescope - Facilities - NRC-CNRC". National Research Council Canada. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  3. ^ "DRAO 26-m Telescope - Facilities - NRC-CNRC". National Research Council Canada. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  4. ^ "Highlights of DRAO - Facilities - NRC-CNRC". National Research Council Canada. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  5. ^ John White and Ken Tapping (February 2013). "The Penticton Solar Flux Receiver". QST (The American Radio Relay League): 39–45. 
  6. ^ "Astronomy Technology Research Facilities at Penticton - Facilities - NRC-CNRC". National Research Council Canada. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 

External links[edit]