Effelsberg radio observatory affected by heavy rainfall

Part of the observatory site was flooded on July 14/15, 2021

July 19, 2021

The extremely heavy rain in the Eifel region on July 14 and 15, 2021, also hit the Effelsberg radio observatory. It caused flooding in the area of two tiny creeks, the Rötzelbach and the Effelsberger Bach, both of which flow in the area of the observatory. The observatory crew is now busy cleaning up and assessing the damage. The staff is very concerned about the neighborhood, hoping that the damage to people and property will not get worse. The lecture program for visitor groups in the pavilion, which has just resumed, has also been suspended again.

Aerial view of the Effelsberg radio observatory on the morning of July 15, 2021. The image shows in the foreground the completely flooded "low-band" part of the Effelsberg station of the European LOFAR telescope network. The area of the old workshop directly in front of it is also flooded. In the background the 100 m radio telescope and to the left the observatory building with control room.

The extreme weather situation on July 14 and 15, 2021 led to a number of floods, especially in western Germany. The site of the Effelsberg radio observatory is also affected. After all, the observatory is not located in an exposed position on a mountain like most optical observatories, but is protected from interference radiation in a valley. Two tiny creeks flowing in this valley, the Effelsberger Bach and the Rötzelbach, became raging torrents for a short time and caused the flooding of the second radio telescope on site, LOFAR (Fig. 1). The access road to the observatory itself was also temporarily flooded (Fig. 2).

During Thursday, cleanup began and the damage was surveyed. This was complicated by the fact that power and water supplies were lost in the wake of the flooding, and initially there was also no phone connection to the outside world. The just resumed lecture program for visitor groups in the pavilion in direct sight of the telescope had to be cancelled.

Fortunately there was only property damage on the site of the Effelsberg radio observatory. In the immediate vicinity of the observatory, both in the district of Euskirchen and in the district of Ahrweiler (the observatory is located directly on the state border between North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, which separates the two districts), the current extreme weather has had devastating effects. The entire observatory crew, a good portion of whom live in the immediate vicinity of the telescope, is very concerned about the neighborhood, which has been hit hard by the effects of the heavy rain.

The picture shows the access road to the 100 m radio telescope Effelsberg with the Rötzelbach running parallel to it. Normally a rather narrow trickle, it led to flooding of the road and the adjacent meadow during the heavy rainfall of July 14-15, 2021.

 

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