DEIMOS-2 Image of the Week (acquired 5/03/2015): Hartebeesthoek, South Africa
The image shows the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory (HartRAO) located in Gauteng, South Africa, about 50 km west of Johannesburg.
The observatory was originally named Deep Space Station 51 and was built in 1961 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Until middle 70´s, the station assisted in tracking many United States space missions, including the Ranger to study the moon, the Mariner to explore Venus and Mars, and the Pioneer to measure the Sun’s winds. HartRAO is currently a National Research Facility run by South Africa’s National Research Foundation.
The original function of the observatory was purely research in radio astronomy, but from the 80’s, a new science developed at HartRAO: Space Geodesy using space techniques. The radio telescopes visible in the center of the image are used for both astronomy and space geodesy. The telescope dishes have diameters of 26 and 15 meters.