ORCHESTRATING THE SOLAR SYSTEM
Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the conversion of the RT32 telescope at VIRAC
A collaboration between VIRAC, RIXC & r a d i o q u a l i a
VIRAC, RIXC & r a d i o q u a l i a invite local and international guests to join us for a unique event.
Time: 0945- 2130
Location: Riga & Irbene, Latvia
0945 - 1000: Assemble at the Academy of Sciences Building
1000 - 1300: Excursion from Riga to Irbene
1300 - 1400: Welcome, tours of RT32 telescope & coffee
1400 - 1500: VIRAC Press Conference & Scientific Introduction
1500 - 1615: Acoustic Space Conference
1615- 17:00: Dinner & Reception
17:00 - 18:30: Acoustic Space sound performances
1830 - 2130: Excursion from Irbene to Riga
NB: The bus from Riga to Irbene will be leaving at from the Academy of Sciences Building. Akad_mijas laukums 1, Riga.
All those wishing to take the bus, must assemble at 0945.
On 22 July 1994 a very special event in recent Latvian history transpired. The Soviet military returned a previously clandestine radio antenna, which had been concealed in the forests of Western Latvia, to the Latvian people. The 32 metre wide radio antenna, christened RT32, turned out to be one of the most significant technical facilities for listening to high frequency radio communication in Northern Europe.
Ten years later, RT32 has been converted from military to scientific use, and is being managed by the Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre (VIRAC)
Acoustic Space: RT32: Orchestrating the Solar System is a special event organised to celebrate the conversion of RT32 from military to scientific use. It will highlight VIRAC's scientific achievements, and also address VIRAC's important role in bringing cultural concerns, tactical media and art into the sphere of astronomical operations.
Acoustic Space: RT32 will feature an excursion from Riga to the site of the telescopes at Irbene, a press conference by VIRAC scientists, a panel discussion with astronomers and artists, a drinks reception, the launch of an installation by RIXC, a preview of the project Radio Astronomy
In 1994 the existence of RT32, plus two smaller dishes, and a communications centre was revealed to the Latvian people. The facilities formed the communication and command centre, 'Zveolsdoshka' - Russian for Little Star. Zveolsdoshka was built by the Soviet military and was used by the KGB to spy on data transmissions between Europe and North-America during the Cold War. Zveolsdoshka was kept secret for most of its existence. Normal citizens of Latvia had no idea it existed and the whole area around it was closed to the public.
When the occupying forces of the Soviet military withdrew from Latvia in 1993, they abandoned Zveolsdoshka. The military were reluctant to give these technical resources to the Latvian Government, and entertained the idea of blowing up the satellite dishes. Pressure from the scientific community dissuaded them, but RT32 was sabotaged by the retreating forces. Acid was poured into its motors; nails were driven through the electrical wires, and all the technical plans and schematics explaining how the dish worked were removed. The dish was effectively ruined.
Since this point, a small group of Latvian scientists have dedicated themselves to the restoration of RT32. Working without any technical specifications, and with minimal financial support, they have managed the remarkable feat of restoring the dish back to working order.
Acoustic Space: RT32 will celebrate their achievements and give the scientists at VIRAC an opportunity to discuss their work to a local and international audience.
ABOUT ACOUSTIC SPACE: RT32
VIRAC Press Conference and Scientific Introduction
VIRAC will deliver a press conference to invited local and international journalists highlighting the work involved in converting RT32 from military to civilian use.
Acoustic Space Conference
VIRAC have played a pioneering role in bringing science and art closer together, through its collaborations with RIXC on the production of the Acoustic Space Lab, and other activities. The panel will feature presentations by local and international speakers, which illustrate the way that radio astronomy can be used in artistic and cultural contexts.
Speakers will include:
- Rasa Smite & Raitis Smits, RIXC, Latvia
- Adam Hyde & Honor Harger, r a d i o q u a l i a, NZ
- Marko Peljhan, Projekt Atol, Slovenia
- Ewen Chardronnet, Ellipse, France
- Gavin Starks, musician & astronomer, UK
- Moderator: Stephen Kovats, V2 & Intertwilight, NL
Latvian Academy of Sciences
VENTSPILS INTERNATIONAL RADIOASTRONOMY CENTRE
Irbene, Ances pagasts, Ventspilsrajons, LV 3612
Office in Riga:
Akademijas laukums 1, Riga, LV 1524
Tel.: (371)7228321. Fax: (371) 7821153.
Director and Chair of the Council Dr.sc.ing. E. BERVALDS
The Centre was founded on 24 April 1996 by Order No. 131 of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia as a state non-profit research organization with the status of a limited liability company. The Statutory fund of the Centre is made up by the state property, the 32 metre and 16 metre antennae of the former Space Communication Centre of the Russian Army, the networks, buildings, and premises which were taken over by the Latvian Academy of Sciences in its tenure on 22 July 1994.
The main purposes of the Centre are high angular observations of the faint cosmic radio sources in the centimetre wave range, making use of fully steerable parabolic radiotelescopes RT-32 and RT-16 as well as the theoretical studies connected with these observations, within the radiointerferometer of the Baltic Sea, European Very Large Baseline Interferometer (VLBI), or global networks.
* The actual technical condition of RT-32 has been observed and assessed (E. Bervalds, Z. Sika, D. Bezrukovs, V. Bezrukovs, V. Bondarenko, G. Balodis, and G. Ozolins).
* RT-32 drive system has been restored for turning around both axis in the regime of manual guidance and one operational speed (Z. Sika, D. Bezrukovs, V. Bezrukovs, and V. Bondarenko).
* The first observations of the cosmic radio sources have been prepared and carried out in the 1245 Mhz and 12000 Mhz frequency (G. Ozolins, D. Bezrukovs, M. Paupere, and G. Rakitko).
* On 12 February 1996 in Stockholm a co-operation agreement was signed between the Latvian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the research firm "Cosmion" of the Russian Federation concerning the restoration of functioning of the 32 m and 16 m antennae for the purposes of joint scientific research, and a Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) has been set up.
* On 11-13 November 1996 in Riga and Irbene the first extended meeting of the SAC was convened. Those taking part were Prof. Roy Booth, Director of Onsala Cosmic Observatory (Sweden); Prof. Dainis Dravins from Lund University (Sweden); Dr. V. Slish, Radioastronomy Council Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Prof. Tinu Viik, Director of Tiravere Observatory (Estonia), and other foreign guests interested in co-operation on the basis of Ventspils antennae.