Nonprofit takes over management of UC Berkeley radio observatory

Kathleen Franklin/Courtesy
SRI International has taken over management of Hat Creek Radio Observatory effective this month.

Related Posts

Management of the Hat Creek Radio Observatory, which houses UC Berkeley telescopes, has been transferred to another organization effective this month.

SRI International — a non-profit organization founded by a group of West Coast industrialists and Stanford University in 1970 — is taking over management of the observatory from UC Berkeley’s Radio Astronomy Laboratory and will allow the SETI Institute to continue its use of the facility for its search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

The 42-dish Allen Telescope Array was built by UC Berkeley and SETI and stopped running in April 2011 due to a lack of funding. Donations then restarted its operations beginning in December. However, director of the telescope array Geoff Bower told the UC Berkeley NewsCenter that the array cannot remain competitive with other facilities at its current size. Campus astronomers will now research at other radio telescopes instead.

The telescope array was the first panchromatic, wide-angle, snapshot radio camera ever constructed, allowing scientists to create radio images of massive areas of sky while simultaneously probing for signs of life elsewhere in the universe.