Effelsberg radio telescope … science fiction at the countryside

There’s this urge for exotic far-away places that some of us often are striving to visit. Cause they’re, well, exotic and far away, which adds to their attraction. And then we forget that there are equally exotic places just around the next corner, literally.

Like I pass the Cologne Cathedral every morning on my way to work, and every evening when I come back. This thing is Germany’s most visited landmark!

And for high-tech science and astronomy nerds, there’s the huge 100 metre radio telescope at Effelsberg, Eifel, which is just an hour’s drive from here. Yet I’ve been there only once so far and that was during my university time, where I was actually studying astronomy … so, time really had come for a second visit!

Read more about the Effelsberg radio telescope on their official website. This masterpiece of technology and science exploration started operations in 1972. Hey, the Apollo moon flight programme was just finished back then. Until 2000, this scope was the biggest of its kind in the world. As of 2018, it’s still number two. It was able to detect water in distant galaxies that are 11 million light years away. Here you’ll find more (very scientific …) information about discoveries that were made with this telescope.

As radio telescopes, like all astronomical observatories, work best in areas without much population around them, it was built in the Eifel, next to a really small rural village. Eifel itself is a very beautiful, hilly landscape, great for hiking and stuff. Several hiking trails actually start at a small parking lot with a snack bar, very close to the scope. This makes for a fun mix of high tech and rural nature. But see the pics for yourself!

Our trip to Effelsberg took place in August. This year’s summer was one of the hottest and driest we ever had in Germany. We did not have a drop of rain for several weeks which is just super rare over here. So that dried-out grass and almost autumn-looking colors in some of the trees were really striking.

These pics were all taken with my Fuji X-E3, the Fujicrons 23/2 and 50/2, and one or two with the vintage 100/3.5 Olympus Pen Zuiko (all those where the EXIF says f/1). Deveoloped in Lightroom, nothing overly fancy here.

Enjoy! Thomas

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