With a much more accurate pointing system, completed in 2002 as part of the latest series of upgrades, the telescope is now performing better than at any time in its 45-year life. The summer of 2003 will bring the final phase of the upgrade in which each of the 340 panels that make up the instrument's collecting and focussing surface will be adjusted to make the whole surface follow the optimum parabolic shape to an accuracy of between 1 and 2 millimeters. When this final task is completed, the telescope will have its frequency range quadrupled so allowing a wide range of new science to be carried out. The upgrade will also more than double the sensitivity of MERLIN and open up new areas of astrophysical study and producing images whose detail exceeds that of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Related category OBSERVATORIES AND TELESCOPES
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