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The restoration project

Since construction was completed in 1965, the 46 m antenna has stood the test of time and Canadian winters. Until recently, only basic maintenance was performed to keep the telescope operational. The Observatory is now undergoing extensive maintenance and restoration to return it and its scientific instruments to their original pristine condition. The telescope has been well maintained mechanically but is in need of  paint to guard against rust. Electronics and power systems are also being upgraded and modernized to return the antenna to full function and to enhance operation. The whole Observatory is receiving some tender loving care in order to restore its status as a jewel in the Park.

As Canada's largest radio telescope, ARO can detect the faintest radio sources and stare back in time to the formation of the universe. The antenna is also essential to the exploration of space, providing the means to return signals from the moon, Mars and other planetary bodies.  

Visitors staying at the Observatory's House are invited to tour the Observatory to follow restoration progress. Sometimes, they even lend a hand to the project.

Antenna with newly painted test area, 2008. Come see how much has been completed in 2009!

Engineers paint a test panel, 2008.

Restoration Progress

One of the 46m telescope main bearings is changed! Our maintenance program discovered significant wear on inside roller bearing B which needed to be urgently addressed. The huge 50cm roller bearings (bearing number NN3068) support the 1000 tonne moving mass of the telescope. The old bearing was removed by Eamonn McKernan using custom pulling tools specially developed for the task. For video of the bearing extraction see this utube video clip.

The replacement of the 85 kg bearing was conducted by J.B. Millwrighting of Ajax. Expert millwrights Ron Burns and Norm Bischof completed the repair in under two days. The replacement was even captured in HD by Discovery Channel! The operation restored the telescope back into operation.