2001 Photo Contest, Science & Technology, Stories, 2nd prize

Simon Norfolk

for The Independent Magazine

05 June, 2000

Radio telescopes are some of the most sensitive scientific instruments known to man, yet they are also among the largest. The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Obsevatory in northern England is the oldest such telescope in the world, and the place where radio astronomy was invented.

Some 3,500 tons of steel support a dish 76m in diameter, making an instrument that is more powerful than the famous Hubble telescope. Without the annual application of 5,200 liters of weatherproof paint, the telescope on the exposed Cheshire Plain would rust away. Scaffolding cannot be used, as the telescope remains operative at night after daytime maintenance work. Instead, specially trained painters use ropes and harnesses to do the job.

About the photographer

Simon Norfolk

Simon has produced four major books: For Most Of It I Have No Words (1998) about the landscapes of genocide, Afghanistan: Chronotopia (2002), 'Bleed' (2005) about the war in Bosn...

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