Any time you read an article or see a video of someone setting a record for surfing the tallest wave in history, they are probably doing it down the beach from this beautiful spot, complements of a large underwater canyon (the Nazaré canyon). Waves of over 60′ / 18 m crest to trough are not unusual – the world record is from here and is 80′ (24.4 m). A few waves of over 100′ / 30 m have been measured here. In 2021, HBO released a documentary about chasing those gargantuan waves
On October 2, 1980, the MV Panagiotis was carrying a load of contraband cigarettes when it ran aground on a “Smugglers Cove” named Agios Georgios on the north-east coast of Zakynthos. The ship was abandoned and looted of its contents by locals. The wreck is still there, and the beach has been renamed Ναυάγιο or Navigo which means “Shipwreck” in Greek.
The beach is only accessible by boat, but is still one of the most important tourist stops on the island.
Located at the Palmdale Regional Airport, this is the most-of-the-year home to SOFIA — the Stratospheric Obeservatory for Infrared Astronomy. SOFIA is an observatory built into a modified Boeing 747 (hence the hint).
SOFIA has a wide ranging mission, from studying the composition of planetary atmostpheres and surfaces to mapping out the chemistry of the interstellar medium. It is also involved in the expansion of STEM education through outreach to educators around the world.
This image contains just 3 of the instruments in this expansive location at 3052m above sea level on the summit of the Haleakalā volcano. In addition to the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (shown), this site is home to the Mees Solar Observatory, Pan-STARRS and the TLRS-4 Laser Ranging System, Faulks Telescope North, and several others.
Those who located this Hawaiian gem before the hint:
Green Bank Telescope (aka GBT) is a fully-steerable radio telescope measuring 100M across, making it one of the largest such telescopes in the world.
GBT sits near the center of the US National Radio Quiet Zone, established in the late 1950s as a way to protect military and scientific radio listening sites. Radio emissions are tightly tracked and managed in the zone, even more so in the 20 mile radius around GBT. Cellphones are not allowed in this zone, radio traffic is limited to emergency, first responders, and law enforcement, and is kept at significantly lower power than one would find elsewhere. Wifi routers are discouraged, and a noisy microwave oven can net you a $50 fine from the FCC.
In addition to its role in project Breakthrough Listen (the search for radio signals indicating intelligent extra-terrestrial life), GBT was used in the discovery of the largest-yet-seen pulsar, PSR J0740+6620
Those who braved the silence to find this site before the hint were:
Built by the Austro-Hungarian military, this former fortress was built on Mount Trebević. The mountaintop provided views of the entire city, and was a key point in military observation. After World War II, this lookout point proved useful again, when the fortress was converted into an astronomical observatory.
By 1972, the site was a world-class research observatory. 3 domes with state-of-the-art telescopes, plus a full photo lab, reference library, and sleeping quarters for the scientists working there.
Then, the 1990s happened. The break up of the Soviet bloc led eventually to the break up of Yugoslavia, and the ethnic tensions that had been held in check for decades exploded in the shelling of Sarajevo. As the site was seen as having strategic advantages militarily, it was hit hard by the Serbian forces, destroying the only astronomical observation site in the country.
There have been a few campaigns to raise funds to bring astronomy back to Bosnia and Herzegovina, but no tangible progress has been made so far.
The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) can be found in Dawodang depression, a natural basin in Pingtang County, Guizhou, southwest China.
The telescope was first proposed in 1994, approved in July 2007 with construction beginning in 2011. It was declared fully operation in 2020. Construction involved moving about 9000 residents out of the area to creat a radio-quiet zone.
It has a novel design, using an active surface made of 4,500 panels to form a moving parabola of metal panels in real time. The cabin containing the feed antenna, suspended on cables above the dish, can move automatically by using winches to steer the instrument to receive signals from different directions. It observes at wavelengths of 10 cm to 4.3 m.
Karel used this location while it was under construction in 2014 for contest #369.
Those who found the site (some for the second time) were:
A project of the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), The Kjell Henricksen Observatory (or KHO Svalbard), built starting in 1978, is the premier and northernmost observatory primarily targeted at studying the Aurora Borealis and related scientific endeavors. North of 78°, the observatory is designed to take advantage of the polar night, and thus it’s work is mostly limited to the period between October and May.
Those who froze their backsides off finding this site before the hint were:
Standing and watching like the animal the site is named for, the MeerKAT array is a precursor to the Square Kilometer Array, one of the largest radio telescope projects ever conceived. The current site has 64 coordinated dishes, each one 19.5 M high and weighing in the neighborhood of 40 tons.
Established in the 10th century, Austrått Manor is the oldest residence associated with Norwegian nobility. The current house was originally built in the mid 1600s, and was the setting for Henrik Ibsen’s third play, “Lady Inger of Ostrat”.
The main house was heavily damaged by fire in 1916. The restoration was not completed until 1961.
The house is open for tours during the spring and summer — it is a 1 hour ferry ride from Trondheim.
A unique feature of this location is it’s stone pyramid, erected in the late 18th century.
Those who found the location before the hint:
Martin de Bock
And after the hint:
This concludes this series. Congrats to our perfect scorers: Martin de Bock, Paul Voestermans, Garfield and Lighthouse!!