Historic radio telescope restored and on display at EAC’s Discovery Park Campus

By Paul Anger

THATCHER, Ariz. ––– To bring students and the community closer to outer space, the historic 21-centimeter 12 gigahertz radio telescope at Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus was recently restored. This restoration project was conducted by Bob Moulton and Blythe Guvenen from the University of Arizona Steward Observatory.

The radio telescope was originally designed and built in the early 1990s by Father William Lonc, S.J. and Robert Schultz at St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia, Canada. The telescope was later donated to Discovery Park Campus in 1993 by the Vatican Observatory in conjunction with the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope at the Mt. Graham International Observatory.

Lonc hand-built the telescope using a radar dish and motorized tracking system that was salvaged from a World War II U.S. Navy vessel’s artillery radar guidance system, along with an abandoned rail cart for its frame. The controls were also hand-built and converted to receive frequencies at 12 g­­­igahertz with audio and visual displays.

“A special thanks to Bob Moulton and Blythe Guvenen for their time and hard work in restoring this astronomy wonder for the community to enjoy,” said Paul Anger, EAC Discovery Park Campus director.
The newly dubbed ‘Little SMT’ can be seen in operation on Saturday evenings and during special events.  For more information contact Anger at (928) 428-6260, or visit EAC’s Discovery Park Campus on Saturday evenings from 4-9 p.m.