Boonah Space Centre - Photo Album
On This page we plan to present a sample of our photos taken during our trips to the Boonah site. From time to time we will post pictures and information about our field trips to other sites of interest as well. We have made several trips to the CSIRO Observatories at Parkes and Narrabri as well as visits to Western Australia and New Zealand.
Brett Mills, who is on our scientific advisory board in his capacity as consulting civil and structural engineer, provided transport to the CSIRO's Narrabri Observatory during April 2000. Our visit to the site was to start the disassembly of the towers and mounts for the old Radio Heliograph ready to move to Boonah.
Henk Mulder, Noel Welstead and Ollie Dowd inspect one of the Heliograph mounts (dish on top) for damage before selection and dismantling. Ollie Dowd is the site foreman for the CSIRO's Compact Array site at Narrabri.
Group Photo showing the towers, mounts and workers. Over the weekend we prepared three towers and mounts for transport to Boonah, now all we need is a truck to transport them the 850 km to our site. The trusty Nissan and trailer did a fine job for us as a crane, tractor and ladder. Thanks Brett.
The Solar Radio Heliograph was constructed to observe the sun in 1964. It consisted of 96 Antennas arranged in a circle 3 km in diameter. The facility was opened in 1967 and operated at a frequency of 80mhz and provided continuous, high resolution pictures of the sun. Shown at right is one of the 96 antennas in it's original condition and configuration. We are only interested in the towers and equatorial mounts as the wire dishes operate at too low a frequency for our purposes.
Seti is a fascinating subject that the media likes to talk about. From time to time , Noel Welstead gets to tell the public about what's happing at Boonah and in the general Seti Community around the world. Here he is interviewed by Spencer Howson on Brisbane's ABC Radio 4QR breakfast program doing a talkback session.
During the Spacetime 2000 Conference in Wellington New Zealand Noel Welstead had the pleasure of meeting the creators of the "Universe" television series, Nigel Henbest and Heather Couper. Bob Mitchell (centre) from Nasa's JPL also attended the conference and talked about the Cassini Mission to Saturn. Bob is the Cassini Mission Director and gave a very informative talk about the probe's progress so far.
Leon Darcy is constructing a SETI observatory near the southern New South Wales town of Goulburn. The Actual name of the location is Bungonia. Leon and Dr.Ragbir Bhathal from the University of Western Sydney have moved two of the old "Fleurs" dishes and started work on the interferometer which should see first light sometime in 2003. Dr Bhathal is an award wining author who sits on our scientific advisory board.
The picture at right is shows what happens when you leave your equipment unattended. Sometimes the wind or some other most unfortunate event causes the structure to collapse. These dishes stood for years at the Fleur's Observatory west of Sydney without any problems. Over more than twenty years the array stood proud and only when someone came to pull them down did they move. I wonder if anyone really knows what happened to Leon's dish and all his hard work?? Was there human intervention??
The Golden Grove Observatory in Western Australia has reached a milestone with the mating of the dish and mount. The team in the west are to be congratulated for a job well done under difficult circumstances.
Neil & June Boucher visit the Seti site on their way to a vintage car rally. Neil is an avid collector of old Wolseley motor vehicles. This one (at left), has been lovingly restored by Neil's mechanical wizards and it can be seen quite often on the roads of Maleny where Neil and June have their old Queensland house that was moved from Brisbane. Neil serves on our scientific advisory board panel.
We are really getting our share of radio telescopes here in Australia. Gary Higginbottom from Sandy Beach New South Wales has finally managed to get his Seti Radio Telescope on the air. These pictures show the initial mount during the design phase and the eventual completion of the mount with the dish on top. The screen image is a trial to test the software and hardware systems while pointing at the Lagoon Nebula (or maybe the Triffid Nebula). Great work Gary and associates on a fine looking addition to the Seti Network of Telescopes around the world.
GRACE LUTHERAN COLLEGE has a very active Radio
Astronomy section within the science department. A few years ago a team
of teachers and friends travelled down to the CSIRO's ATNF Culgoora site
to dismantle and ship one of the old radio heliograph antennas back to
the school. The antenna was subsequently restored and re-commissioned
back to it's original glory. It forms part of the Grace Lutheran College
radio astronomy facility headed by Dr Marc Elmouttie. Nice work guy's.
The original CSIRO facility consisted of a 6km dia. ring of these
antennas that formed part of the Solar Observatory at the Paul Wild
Observatory where major discoveries about the Sun (SOL) were made.
Having the Observatory in the heart of Fassifern
country means that we are truly situated in rural Australia. During
the past 4 years we have made many friends in the Boonah area. The local
pub is always a gathering point where people from around the area can
catch up on the weeks gossip, meet old friends or just have a cool beer
after a hard days work. Well, we sure do have a hard days work
when we go down on the weekends, so it just seems natural to partake in
some friendly gossip and have a cold beer and a meal at the best little
pub in the area. From time to time we get the opportunity to socialise
with the friends we have made. Recently, Kelly Harrison had her 18th
birthday and we were there to help her celebrate the event. Dad Ian and
Mum Bev help out with the cutting of the cake (at left). Also, the
Aratula Cricket team won the finals and were on hand to celebrate the
event. The boys would have had some sore heads on Sunday morn !!!!