testing the telescope on a hot day

Hi, so I’m getting a bit behind on these updates.

It’s been HOT in london.  We tested the telescope the other day by sending Edo down the Thames and seeing if we could see him at various places, here is the itinerary:-


So the red marker on the left is the telescope then we have the OXO building, Blackfriars Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Millenium Bridge, London Bridge then finally Tower Bridge.

I had him hold up a sign at each bridge, the original idea was for him to hold up a sign with the name of each bridge on, but having written the first sign ‘OXO’ we stuck with it because you wouldn’t have been able to read the writing if it was any smaller.

So here he is at OXO building which is 570 metres away


It’s very blurry.  This is due to there being a huge amount of vibration from the building below during the day, and also because there is a significant heat haze, and probably due to the fact that we are looking over the thames, etc etc.  more later.

We then sent him to Blackfriar’s bridge which is 840 metres awayblackfriars2

not very good…  but we (me and Sunayana, the new student helping me) were enjoying making him run around.  So we sent him onwards to Millennium Bridge (the wobbly one to the tate modern distance of 1220 m)…


Southwark bridge (distance of 1520 m)


London Bridge (the one the bankers go across like zombies) distance 1970m


and finally tower bridge, distance 2860 m


So you can see this isn’t great.  The main problem is the vibration and focusing and heat haze.  Have a look at this video of London Bridge 2 kilometres away :-

You will also be able to see Sunayana in that video.

We have been out at night since then, and we’ve had a bit more luck…. but more about that soon.

Telescope in the Dome

So on Friday we decided to stop messing around and actually get the telescope in the dome. First we had to carry the boxes from my office onto the roof which involved a lot of grunting and sweating and swearing.

Then we attached the “electronics pier” to the central column using the adapter that was built for us by Paul in the engineering workshop.  It doesn’t look like a pier but I’m used to piers that don’t look like piers as I come from Wigan


Then we lifted the mount onto the “pier”.  It was very very heavy.


At this stage we were becoming slightly euphoric because we hadn’t broken anything yet and it seemed to be going OK.


Then we managed to get the telescope on top, which was also very heavy and very scary because you don’t want to drop it.


And there we are.  We’ve not got it wired up yet but we have established that it works (yes we have looked at the shard and no, we didn’t see anything interesting).  Without the motor wired up it’s almost impossible to look at particular things, we just managed to establish that it actually works and makes things that are far away look big, which it does, which is good.

The very nice and professional people at the KCL PR department are looking for positive stories at the moment so they made a nice video of the process, which you can look at here:-