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25th of August 2022
Owens Valley Radio Observatory
The Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) is a radio astronomy observatory of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). John Bolton and Gordon Stanley joined Caltech from CSIRO in the 1950s to build, first, a 9-m antenna for neutral hydrogen (HI) studies, then an interferometer of two 27-m antennas on a 488-m railway track. In 1968, by which time Bolton had returned to CSIRO, a 40-m (130-foot) antenna was completed, and in 2007 this telescope was re-purposed for a dedicated blazar monitoring campaign in support of the Fermi gamma-ray satellite. The telescope now takes observations of over 1800 blazars at 15 GHz twice a week.

In the decade from 1985, a millimeter-wave array of six 10.4-m dishes was commissioned at OVRO, which in 2006 became part of the (ultimately) 23-element Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA) at a higher site, 32-km east of OVRO. Current ATNF Director, Douglas Bock, held the role of Assistant Director – Operations for CARMA before joining CSIRO in 2010. CARMA ceased operation in 2015 and the antennas were subsequently transferred back to OVRO.

More recently, the Deep Synoptic Array (DSA) is been under contruction at OVRO to study Fast Radio Bursts, with an ability -- like ASKAP -- to accurately localise the FRBs it detects. A prototype array, DSA-10, of ten 4.5 m antennas was built first, which is currently being expanded to DSA-110, with plans to expand further to DSA-2000. The image above shows the OVRO 40-m in the foreground, and antennas of the former CARMA. In the background are dishes of DSA-110. (Image credit: Douglas Bock)

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