• Short Summary

    AN OLD OIL DRUM... AT TAPE RECORDER... AN OBSOLETE TELEVISION SET: HARDLY THE WAY, ONE?

  • Description

    AN OLD OIL DRUM... AT TAPE RECORDER... AN OBSOLETE TELEVISION SET: HARDLY THE WAY, ONE WOULD THINK, IN WHICH TO TRACK AND RECEIVE PICTURES FROM AMERICAN WEATHER SATELLITES ORBITING HUNDREDS OF MILES ABOVE THE EARTH. BUT THAT'S HOW THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY IN HONG KONG HAS BEEN OPERATING FOR SOME YEARS - SUCCESSFULLY TOO. TO SUCH EFFECT, IN FACT, THAT THE OBSERVATORY IS NOW BUILDING MORE CONVENTIONAL APPARATUS. THE OLD OIL DRUM WITH WHICH THEY STARTED WILL, HOWEVER, REMAIN AS A MONUMENT TO HONG KONG'S EARLY SPACE RESEARCH PROGRAMME.

    MUCH OF THE TRACKING WORK AT THE OBSERVATORY IS DONE BY THE WATCHMAN, WHO IS ARMED WITH INSTRUCTIONS WRITTEN ON A SCRAP OF PAPER AND SUPPLIED BY A 28-YEAR-OLD SCIENTIFIC ASSISTANT, MR YAU MAN-KWONG.

    THE OBSERVATORY'S EQUIPMENT INCLUDES A HOME-MADE TRACKER, WHOSE AERIAL IS A LONG POLE WITH A TUBULAR COIL FROM THE POINT TO A SHEET METAL DISC NEAR THE BASE. THE AERIAL IS CONNECTED TO A VERTICAL POLE WHICH REVOLVES INSIDE THE OLD OIL DRUM, AND THE WATCHMAN ADJUSTS THE AERIAL TO FOLLOW THE SATELLITES.

    A CABLE FROM THE TRACKER LEADS TO A CONCRETE HUT, WHERE THE SIGNALS ARE CHANNELLED TO A FACSIMILE PICTURE-RECEIVER MACHINE AND ON TO A TAPE RECORDER. THE MACHINE DOES NOT ALWAYS GET A CLEAR PICTURE, SO THE TAPE RECORDING IS FED INTO A SPECIALLY-ADAPTED TELEVISION SET. A PICTURE APPEARS ON THE SCREEN AND MR YAU TAKES A PHOTOGRAPH WITH AN ORDINARY CAMERA. THE PICTURES - AT LEAST FOUR A DAY ARE RECEIVED - SHOW THE DISTRIBUTION OF CLOUDS OVER THE EARTH'S SURFACE AND FROM THAT THE LOCATION OF THE WEATHER SYSTEM CAN BE TOLD.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA73V3AFZV010YI5ZOUV76936CN
    Media URN:
    VLVA73V3AFZV010YI5ZOUV76936CN
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    14/08/1966
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:32:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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