A UFO? A fire starter? An ice rink? Yes, and a radio telescope!

We explored the radio astronomy site that has been operating on Peach Mountain for over fifty years.  The site is retiring, and we are hoping that with some additional funding and a lot of elbow grease, we will be able to upgrade it to support our satellite missions.    Peach Mountain is just about 20 minutes north of campus, near Dexter, MI.

The dish is pictured below.  Early in its life, the reflector was unpainted aluminum.  It turns out, the dish was a great reflector of sunlight and would periodically start fires around the site!  For thermal reasons, the antenna was painted white and now its fire-starting capabilities are zero.

Also, if you put a lightbulb in the feed horn, the dish illuminates quite nicely.  Seen from the side, this can look like quite the UFO, and has been confused for one several times. Finally, when pointed up, it is a great collector of snow.

SRI dish
Picture above is the ~ 85 foot radio telescope on Peach Mountain near Dexter, MI.