British astronomer Bernard Lovell left 'immense' legacy

The pioneering British astronomer and physicists Bernard Lovell, who died Monday, created the only telescope in the West that could track Sputnik.

  • close
    Pioneering British physicist and astronomer Bernard Lovell, shown here in 2007, died Monday. Lovell was founder of England's Jodrell Bank Observatory and creator of its Lovell radio telescope.
    Jon Super/AP/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

Pioneering British physicist and astronomer Bernard Lovell has died. 

The University of Manchester, where Lovell was Emeritus Professor of Radioastronomy, says he died Monday.

Lovell was founder of England's Jodrell Bank Observatory and creator of its Lovell radio telescope.

When completed in 1957, it was the largest telescope in the world, and immediately became famous for tracking the rocket carrying the Soviet Union's Sputnik — the world's first artificial satellite — into orbit.

The telescope — which remains in use today — was the only instrument in the West able to track the beachball-sized metal ball's booster rocket through radar.

The observatory said Tuesday that Lovell had left an "immense" legacy.

He is survived by four of his five children, 14 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.


We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.