Back when I was in Junior High, Sky & Telescope published a 5 part article on building a back yard radio telescope. The idea intrigued me. It was something that I could build without help or permission to listen in on things like Jupiter or the Sun. There was some reason I never built it. Likely that it would have taken the whole back yard or that an optical telescope was actually more fun. But I kept the issues. Carting them around with me since.

Now I read that a real radio telescope is going to the crusher because of, get this: dry brush. WTF! Seriously. Waaaa. Let’s close down a teaching tool because of some wood. This is the kind of thing that I don’t get about policy makers. They say, “get rid of it” without even asking the public at large if we might all come out on a Saturday to help out. Even worse. This kind of “wood” is all over the Stanford Hills. Making not just the area around the telescopes a hazard, but miles and miles and miles around it as well. I’m shaking my head.

part of the bracewell radio telescope

It’s resources like these that should not “just go away.” If the telescope has even a few years of useful life in it, the bay area will find a way to use them. Granted, using a radio telescope doesn’t “look cool at all.” The output is a graph or a wave form. Not a pretty picture. But guess what, that’s what science looks like.

Please, please. Take one minute and sign the online petition. If everyone that reads this does that it will add 10 more names to the list.

Here is the link for the petition.

And the links for more info:
http://www.bambi.net/stanford_dishes/rescue.html
http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/03/help_save_the_stanford_dish_an.html