A UK laboratory engaged in space and other science activities, especially in support of academic research. The laboratory's facilities and services include its Space Science and Technology Department and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Earth-Observation Data Centre (NEODC). Another of its facilities is the RAL Ground Station, a satellite control centre that supports orbiting missions, including those of NASA. RAL is part of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CLRC), an independent body of the UK Office of Science and Technology. The CLRC awarded the laboratory £3 million on 23 March 2004 to install an Astra laser, providing the UK with a unique dual-beam facility that can create temperatures as high as those on the Sun's surface as well as magnetic fields like those on the polar regions of neutron stars. The facility will be completed in three years.
RAL was formed when the Rutherford High-Energy Laboratory (established in 1957 under the National Institute for Research in Nuclear Science) merged with the Atlas Laboratory in 1975 and the Appleton Laboratory in 1979. It is located near Didcot, Oxfordshire, England.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.