ESO Travels to the Moon and Back During its 50th Anniversary Year

ESO anniversary logo Moonbounced

27 april 2012

On 21 April 2012, amateur radio operator Jan van Muijlwijk pointed the Dwingeloo Radio Telescope in the Netherlands at the Moon. Radio waves carrying a digital version of the ESO’s 50th anniversary logo were then transmitted into outer space from Howard Ling’s amateur radio station in England. After the signals bounced off Earth’s natural satellite they were picked up by Jan, less than three seconds later, after a round trip of about 800 000 km. The result can be seen in this image which literally traveled to the Moon and back.

Patrick Barthelow, who works with Echoes of Apollo and is a keen promoter of Moonbounce [1] outreach and STEM [2] education activities was the initiator of this project to mark ESO’s 50th anniversary. Artist Daniela de Paulis ( is the one who first put forward the idea to Moonbounce images and continues to apply her professional experience in this direction.

We invite you to join the celebrations of our anniversary either by taking part in our activities such as the “AwESOme Universe” anniversary exhibition or by initiating your own as Patrick did. Do not forget to tell us about them so we can share them with everyone.


[1] Moonbounce or Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) is a radio communications technique which relies on the propagation of radio waves from an Earth-based transmitter directed via reflection from the surface of the Moon back to an Earth-based receiver. The technology used to reflect the images off the Moon is called EME-SSTV (Earth-Moon-Earth Slow-Scan-Television).

[2] Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

More Information

The Dwingeloo telescope no longer is used for astronomical observation by ASTRON. Since 2009 the telescope (built in 1954-1956) has been a national monument.

CAMRAS (CA Muller Radio-Astronomy Station), which consists of volunteers (among them technicians, radio-hams and amateur astronomers) rents the telescope from ASTRON and helps keep the telescope as a functioning monument. The volunteers take care of maintenance, replacement and renovation of antennas, receivers, control, driving mechanism and construction. CAMRAS volunteers use the telescope for radio-communication and astronomical observation, for educational purposes and occasions for the general public, such as Open Monument Day and October, Month of Knowledge.



Patrick Barthelow
Moonbounce STEM manager
Echoes of Apollo
Call sign: AA6EG

Oana Sandu
Community Coordinator
The education and Public Outreach Department
Tel: +49 89 320 069 65

Over de Mededeling



ESO's 50th anniversary logo Moonbounced
ESO's 50th anniversary logo Moonbounced