Telescopes on the move

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to move a radio telescope to a completely different location? Perhaps not, but that is something that has been done for the new Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA). In fact, they have already moved around 11 dishes up to the site at Cedar Flat, Inyo County, California which is 8000 feet (2400 m) above sea level.

The new facility is built from two previously existing arrays; the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) millimeter array and the Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland Association (BIMA) millmeter array. Telescopes observing at millimetre wavelengths have to worry about the atmosphere as it starts to cause problems due to emission and absorption by the oxygen and turbulent water vapour. By going to 2400 m, the amount of atmosphere that you have to 'look' through is reduced and you can make better observations. CARMA will observe radio emission from molecules and dust, nearby starburst galaxies, blue dwarf galaxies, nearby molecular clouds forming clusters of stars, newly-born stars emerging from their present clouds, comets, and the cosmic radiation left-over from the Big Bang.



The image above shows the first of the OVRO 10 m dishes being transported to the site.

IMAGE: CARMA/BIMA/OVRO

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 13th Apr 2005 (17:15 UTC) | Permalink
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