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World’s Highest Observatory Inaugurated in Chile by University of Tokyo

World’s Highest Observatory Inaugurated in Chile by University of Tokyo
  • A new telescope billed as the world's highest astronomical site is officially open for business.
  • The Japanese University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory, or TAO, which was first conceptualized 26 years ago to study the evolution of galaxies and exoplanets, is perched on top of a tall mountain in the Chilean Andes at 5,640 meters (18,500 feet) above sea level. The facility's altitude surpasses even the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, which is at an elevation of 5,050 meters (16,570 feet).
  • TAO is located on the summit of Atacama's Cerro Chajnantor mountain, whose name means "place of departure" in the now-extinct Kunza language of the indigenous Likan Antai community. The region's high altitude, sparse atmosphere and perennially arid climate is deadly to humans, but makes an excellent spot for infrared telescopes like TAO as their observational accuracies rely on low moisture levels, which render Earth's atmosphere transparent in infrared wavelengths.
  • TAO's 6.5-meter telescope consists of two science instruments designed to observe the universe in infrared, which is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than visible light but shorter than microwaves.

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Published date : 25 May 2024 05:21PM

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