Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Radio astronomy gets grant boost

Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank (Getty)
Jodrell Bank in Cheshire is home to the Lovell Telescope

Scientists from the University of Manchester are to benefit from a 10m-euro grant designed to support radio astronomy across Europe.

The university's Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics co-ordinates RadioNet - a network of the major radio astronomy observatories across Europe.

The money will support research into multi-pixel radio cameras and analysing signals received by radio telescopes.

The project will also organise workshops and schools for students.

"Over the past five years, RadioNet has transformed radio astronomy in Europe," said Professor Phil Diamond, director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics.

"It is now natural for radio astronomers to think in terms of European collaboration as the way to proceed."

RadioNet funding will also support operations of the e-Merlin telescope array, via Trans-National Access, enabling others across Europe to make best use of this major new facility.

eMerlin is the upgrade to a network of seven radio astronomy stations - from Jodrell and its 76m Lovell Telescope in the North West, to Lords Bridge, just outside Cambridge in East Anglia.

By linking the stations together using optic-fibre cables, eMerlin can mimic a single super-sensitive radio-telescope spanning 217 km.

It has been described as the radio astronomy equivalent of the Hubble Space Telescope - a "radio camera".

RadioNet involves 26 partners from 13 different countries.

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