Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory

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Contact us

The DRAO offers access to the classical radio wave spectrum, extending from centimetre through metre wavelength. To learn more about our world-class astronomy facility, contact:

Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
Telephone: 250-497-2300

Targeted industries

Astronomy and astrophysics


Research facility highlights

The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) is an internationally known facility for science and technology research related to radio astronomy. It operates three telescopes on its extensive radio-quiet site: a 26-metre fully steerable dish, a seven-antenna aperture synthesis array and a solar radio flux monitor. It also features labs and equipment for the development of all aspects of radio-frequency instrumentation, from antennas and feeds, to digital signal processing hardware and software.

What we offer

The John A. Galt Telescope is a 25.6 m, prime-focus, equatorially-mounted, single-antenna telescope with interchangeable feeds from 408MHz to 6.6 GHz.

The Synthesis Telescope offers wide-field imaging simultaneously in continuum bands at 408 MHz (λ = 74 cm) and at 1420 MHz (λ = 21 cm), and atomic hydrogen (HI) spectroscopy with 256 channels at 1420 MHz. It is particularly suited to studies of the interstellar medium and nearby galaxies.

The Solar Radio Flux Monitor is an automated facility that provides the 10.7 cm data that are widely used for “space weather” applications by many agencies around the world (including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the United States Department of Defense). The site also hosts instruments for other groups requiring a radio-quiet environment, such as a rhyometer for NRCan, and the new CHIME telescope for the University of British Columbia.

Technology projects at DRAO focus on designing and building instrumentation for existing telescopes around the world, and developing new technologies for future telescopes. Our well-equipped labs enable the development and testing of radio-frequency and digital equipment.

Access and use

Since its official opening in 1960, DRAO has provided more than 50 years of outstanding achievement in astronomical sciences and technology development. Most recently, its 26-m Telescope and Synthesis Telescope (ST) were the primary source of data for the Canadian Galactic Plane Survey (CGPS, 1995 to 2009).

The Solar Radio Flux Monitor continues to play a key role in “space weather” forecasting. Technology development projects have included the ACSIS spectrometer for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) and the WIDAR correlator for the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA). DRAO also allows for ongoing work on novel technologies for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), including composite antennas, phased-array feeds, low-noise amplifiers, and digital signal processing hardware and software.

Public access

The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory site is open for self-guided tours year round, Monday to Friday, from 08:30-17:00.

From Easter long weekend to Thanksgiving weekend the site is open weekends and statutory holidays from 10:00-17:00 for guided tours. Reservations are not required and these tours are free of charge.


For general public inquiries, please contact:

Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
Telephone: 250-497-2300