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KARL JANSKY

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February 4, 2017 Holmdel, NJ.  In the early 30's, transatlantic phone calls were handled by radio.  Unlike today's satellites and fiber optics, radio transmissions had static.  Bell Labs asked scientist Karl Jansky to find out where the static was coming from.  Karl built a 20' x 100' antenna and discovered several sources of static, but one source was a weak hiss that was coming from a direction unlike the other statics.  After much research Karl discovered the source was the Milky Way Galaxy.  Because of this discovery, Karl Jansky is credited as the "father of Radio Astronomy".

 

Karl's antenna was sized to be resonant with the same frequencies used by the transatlantic radio transmissions.  (20 Mhz).  He rotated the large array by physically moving it via rubber tires on a solid track.

 

Bell Labs in Holmdel, NJ built a monument to Karl's achievement on the property of its Research and Development building.

 

To document the site, Bell Labs provided a photo of Karl and a narrative of his discovery.

 

The actual Jansky antenna was located a distance from the site of his memorial.   In addition, the concrete slab shown below was at the location of the little shed that housed Jansky's instruments and recording equipment.  In another year, Jansky's original site will developed into luxury homes.  As of 2017, the future of the Bell Labs building is vague, but discussions are focused on possible restaurants, a spa, a hotel and a shopping center.   One can only wonder if the Jansky monument will give way to $$ luxury homes or will it be kept as an honor to a humble scientist?

 

 

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