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Commemorative plaque of radio stars unveiled

Posted by SC Comments Off on Commemorative plaque of radio stars unveiled

Prof Goos with Sandra Coney, Chair Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum in the Auckland Council unveil the plaque

On 28 January a group gathered at the end of Log Race Road, Piha, to unveil a plaque to a unique event that occured in 1948. In that year two radio astronomers from Australia arrived at the mothballed WW2 Radar Station to conduct experiments to pinpoint the sources of radio waves from the heavens.

Englishman John Bolton and New Zealand-born Gordon Stanley had already spent some months on the high hills at Pakiri recording radio waves from the rising sun. At Piha, they positioned themselves on the 300 metre high cliffs of Hikurangi facing the western horizon of the setting sun.

Libby Goss, Dorothy Taylor and Miller Goss at the Piha Surf Club. Mrs Taylor and her husband Don were caretakers at the Radar Station and hosted Bolton and Stanley in 1948

Good weather, the height and the reliable electricity supply available from the generator at the old Radar Station enabled them to make some astounding discoveries and they were able to pinpoint the location of the sources of the radio waves.

The plaque briefly tells the story and is attached to a very large rock near the location where the two astronomers erected their portable Yagi attennae.

All this story has come to light through the work of Professor Miller Goss, former director of the Very Large Array at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico. He has been retracing the journey of Bolton and Stanley in  New Zealand, and along with the burgeoning Radio astronomy fraternity in New Zealand, had been urging the Auckland Regional Council to mark this singular event at Piha.

Radio stars plaque. Click on it to enlarge and read text.

The plaque is highly visible next to the parking area and is near the entrances to tracks especially the Hillary Trail.

Following the unveiling, the party went to the Piha Surf Club for afternoon tea and speeches. Later the same night Prof Goss spoke to about 80 at an event organised by Protect Piha Heritage Society.

Here you can hear astronomer Dr Grant Christie talking about the event and its importance on Radio Live

http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Astronomy-with-Dr-Grant-Christie/tabid/506/articleID/18328/Default.aspx

Categories: radio stars, Uncategorized

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