Glen Campbell, a Horn Antenna, a 100 ft. Balloon and The BIG Bang…All Here, All There

In Homdel, New  Jersey, less than a mile (~one km) from the often ear splitting outdoor concerts of the Garden State (PNC) Arts Center, sits this odd looking contraption designed and built by Bell Labs, the historic and  prestigious research arm of AT&T. Jeanne and I visited this recently.

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…Known as a “horn” antenna, here facing down for storage, this large (for its day) 15 meter (50 ft.) sheet metal radio telescope was specifically built to bounce and receive radio signals off early satellite experiments using  the 100 ft. diameter Echo I Satellite Balloon, launched August 12, 1960.

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(On March 14, 1963, I took this 25 minute guided photo showing the Echo I satellite, as a wavering-bright “star trail” due to it’s slight deflation, passing overhead from the then dark skies of Bayville New Jersey.)

1963.03.14 001 4 AM 25 min, Bayville, Echo Sat

But what really ensured the telescope’s place in history was the work of Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, who in 1964 could not explain a mysterious background “noise” being picked up by the ultra sensitive cryogenic microwave receiver.

They systematically tried to eliminate any terrrestrial sources. No difference was detected when pointed generally toward New York City for example. Bird droppings, thought to be creating some sort of electrostatic interference, were cleaned from the horn, to no avail. Perhaps if the Arts Center were already there, with its 10,000 patrons and concerts, it too would have been suspected. (Although Jeanne and I would see Glen Cambell perform there four years later, Engene Ormandy (music of “Star Wars”)  was also one of the early classical performers!)

11.100 7-4-69 Holmdel, Garden State Arts Center, Glenn Cambell_edited-1

But, after conferring with Robert Dicke, a particle physicist  at nearby Princeton University – and familiar with the theoretical, but never before detected “background radiation” components of the Big Bang Theory of cosmological evolution, the source of the mysterious  “static” was eventually verified and now the keystone for the theory’s acceptance.

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The telescope is located in a semi-wooded area on Telegraph Hill in Homdel, NJ, on  the private property of Alcatel-Lucent Technologys, and not readily accessible without special permission.

As usual, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. M:-)

(Thanks to Wikipedia for their indispensable resources. Please consider contributing via their site.)

Holy Man Shoos Huge Gull – On The Isle of Capri, Italy

This post contains seven images, and two maps. 

Exploring by boat off the south-west coast of Capri, Italy 2011, we sighted this territorial confrontation.

3-26-11     Italy, day 2, Sorrento and Capri (132)
“Sciò via” (“Shoo,  Away”)

Continuing around the island brought views of rocky shorelines and local boating heritage.

3-26-11     Italy, day 2, Sorrento and Capri (152)

3-26-11     Italy, day 2, Sorrento and Capri (221)
When the sun shines, the island’s coast offers stunning water clarity and colors

Below: Returning from our short excursion to Capri, broken clouds enhanced this nice view of Sorrento and its stunning seaside cliffs.  

3-26-11     Italy, day 2, Sorrento and Capri (242)

Below: Not far, on the next day’s bus tour along the Amalfi Coast, was Positano, typical for this region, it being built over centuries on the steep slopes above the sea.

3-27-11     Italy, Day 3, Amalfi Coast (12)

Below: As seen from off-shore –  a view of a few Italians relaxing on a beach along the Almafi Coast.

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Below: As seen from on-shore, a view of a few (thousand) Jersey Girls (and guys) relaxing on the beach along the New Jersey Coast (?!?)

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Seaside Heights, New Jersey, August 1968!    ‘Music Radio W-A-B-C…Ding’
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Capri is located just left of the Sorrentine Peninsula but not indicated on this map.

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Thanks for viewing…

and comments are always welcome. M 🙂