Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory

Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory

DRAO main building and John A. Galt Telescope
Organization NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics
Location Okanagan Falls, British Columbia
Coordinates 49°19′15.6″N 119°37′26.4″W / 49.321000°N 119.624000°W / 49.321000; -119.624000Coordinates: 49°19′15.6″N 119°37′26.4″W / 49.321000°N 119.624000°W / 49.321000; -119.624000
Altitude 545 metres (1,788 ft)
Established 1960 (1960)
Website Official site
DRAO Synthesis Telescope radio interferometer
John A. Galt Telescope 26-m radio telescope
Solar flux monitor radio solar telescope
CHIME radio interferometer
Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory is a research facility founded in 1960 and located south-west of Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, Canada. The site houses three instruments an interferometric radio telescope, a 26-m single-dish antenna, and a solar flux monitor and supports engineering laboratories. The DRAO is operated by the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics of the National Research Council of the Canadian government. The observatory was named an IEEE Milestone for first radio astronomical observations using VLBI.[1]


Synthesis telescope

DRAO Synthesis Telescope

The Synthesis Telescope consists of seven nine-metre, metal-mesh reflector antennas along a 600-m east-west baseline. The antennas are equipped with single-circular polarisation receivers at 408 MHz and dual circular receivers at 1420 MHz, from which all four Stokes parameters may be formed. A spectrometer may also be employed at 1420 MHz for study of the 21-cm hydrogen line. Maps of the sky are formed using the technique of aperture synthesis. [2]

John A. Galt Telescope

John A. Galt Telescope

The John A. Galt Telescope consists of a single 25.6-metre-diameter (84 ft) metal-mesh antenna which can be equipped to observe at 408 MHz and at 1.5, 2.7, 4.9, 6.6, and 8.4 GHz, including the hydrogen line near 1.4 GHz, the OH lines around 1.6 GHz, and the methanol line near 6.6 GHz.[3] The telescope, formerly simply referred to as the 26-metre Telescope, was renamed in honour of John A. Galt, first employee and former director of the DRAO, during a special ceremony in 2014.[4]

Solar-flux monitor

Solar flux monitor

The monitor consists of two solid-surface dish antennas simultaneously observing at 10.7-cm wavelength, located near Penticton, British Columbia.[5][6]

Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) is a radio interferometer under construction which will map the 21 cm line of neutral Hydrogen over the cosmological redshift range of 0.8 to 2.5. It consists of four cylindrical reflector antennas, each 100 metres long and 20 metres wide. Each cylinder will have 256 dual-polarisation feed antennas spaced along the focal line. Data from this telescope will be used to measure baryon acoustic oscillations, giving a length scale that can be used to measure the expansion history of the universe.


In addition to observing facilities, the DRAO operates design and development laboratories for receivers and electronics. Projects include instrumentation for external observatories, such as the Very Large Array and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.[7]

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory.


  1. "List of IEEE Milestones". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
  2. "DRAO Synthesis Telescope - Facilities - NRC-CNRC". National Research Council Canada. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  3. "DRAO 26-m Telescope - Facilities - NRC-CNRC". National Research Council Canada. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  4. Moorhouse, John (2014-09-22). "Special dedication at DRAO". Penticton Herald. Penticton, British Columbia. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  5. "Highlights of DRAO - Facilities - NRC-CNRC". National Research Council Canada. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  6. John White and Ken Tapping (February 2013). "The Penticton Solar Flux Receiver". QST. The American Radio Relay League: 39–45.
  7. "Astronomy Technology Research Facilities at Penticton - Facilities - NRC-CNRC". National Research Council Canada. Retrieved 2014-04-02.
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