KAPEC GEOTASK?
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IRBENE RADIO-LOCATOR

Location: N57° 33` 35.6", E21° 51` 40.9"

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Ventspils international radio astronomy centre is located in Irbene which is the former Soviet army city, and its owner is Ventspils University Institute of engineering sciences. A 32m wide and completely movable parabolic antenna RT-32 is still working for scientific means, which is the largest antenna in Northern Europe, and the eight largest in the world. There is also other antenna working – 16m antenna RT-16. Both antennas have been renewed during the summer of 2015.

During the Soviet times, Latvia was located in strategic place, because it was the Western border for the large USSR, where the most part of the military resources were concentrated. The parabolic antenna was built during the 1960-ies for the needs of USSR Ministry of Defence. It was located in a secret object “Zvjozdochka” (Little star) not far from the coast of the Baltic Sea. Spying and all kind of communication interception from the satellites were done together with two more, smaller parabolic antennas.

A 200 hectare wide Irbene radio telescope war city “Little Star” was created not far from Ventspils. Irbene telescope is run by Ventspils High School and it is used for radio astronomy, but the city has transformed into a extreme tourism object. Today the territory of the “Little Star” looks like a ghost city, where a living being is stepping inside very rarely, except Latvian army trainings and tournaments of orienteer or air soft. The territory is not secured, so it is managed by anyone who wants to do that. Attempts to sell the city have failed for multiple times.

Radio-locator building is renewed and is carefully maintained. Today the parabolic antennas are used to observe inter-star environment objects, radio observations of the Sun, to observe the asteroids and the artificial objects close to the Earth, including cosmic fragments in radio-location, especially in large basis interferometry observation, following the objects outside the Solar system.