Friends of the
Bracewell Observatory Association

Opening up the World of 
Radio Astronomy 

Updated August 26th, 2005
Volunteer Team Signups To Date: 65
Donor Information
Press Releases and News Stories

NEW! An Open Letter to John Hennessy, President, Stanford University
(As published in the Palo Alto Daily News, August 26th, 2005)

Click here to sign the rescue petition!

Help Us Rescue the Stanford Dishes to open up Radio Astronomy to Stanford Students and Community!

The imminent demolition of five 60-foot dish antennas built by Professor Ronald Bracewell at Stanford has been scheduled for August, 2005 by the Dean of the School of Engineering. Our effort to rescue the observatory is continuing.

Click here for the latest update!

We propose to save, restore, and operate this site to achieve the following goals:

Stanford's School of Engineering agreed, based on our initial proposal, to allow us until June 30th, 2005 to submit a final plan, and to put enough volunteer and financial support in place to make our plan go.

We developed a collaborative proposal in conjunction with the Director of Stanford's Space, Telecommunications, and Radio Science Laboratory (STAR Lab), and the DIrector of Stanford's Space Systems Development Laboratory (SSDL), to synergistically combine Stanford academic and research use with our planned activities.  We proposed to support the use of one or more of the dishes to track scientific satellites carrying Stanford-built instrumentation. 

Thanks to the quick action of our supporters, we raised the $20,000 as required by the School of Engineering to stop the originally planned demolition in September, 2004, and defer it until at least June, 2005. In the event the final plan is not accepted, the funds would cover the added cost of completing the demolition work at a later date.  Should the final proposal be accepted, these funds will be available through STAR Lab in support of the site. 

View of One of the Five 60 Foot Dish Antennas

The Stanford Radio Astronomy Observatory (also known as "Heliopolis"), located at Stanford Field Site 515,  is where 11 years of daily microwave sun maps were produced and where a radio telescope, in the form of a compound interferometer, first achieved the angular resolution of the human eye (one arcminute).
Inside the Control Room (a Butler Building)

If you are interested in helping with this rescue effort, please contact:
Bob Lash
Friends of the Bracewell Observatory Association

Please include information about your background, interests, what areas you would like to help with (publicity, fundraising, dish mechanical restoration, feeds, receivers, building restoration, historical document preservation and scanning, mentoring, you name it, etc.), your location, and your contact information.

Detailed technical information about the radio telescope system (in the form of "Glint Notes") is here.   Rescue volunteer Chris Ridder is actively scanning in more Glint notes, and is maintaining a growing archive at  (thank you Chris!).

Additional photos and documents regarding the site are here,

The Friends of the Bracewell Observatory Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization supported by Stanford alumni, members of the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA), the Society for Amateur Scientists (SAS), the SETI League, and other interested parties. If you or your organization would like to join in this effort, please contact Bob Lash.