INTRODUCTION The world's largest reflecting radio telescope has been put into operation in the Soviet Union.
INTRODUCTION The world's largest reflecting radio telescope has been put into operation in the Soviet Union. It's capable of pinpointing objects several billion light years away in space.
SYNOPSIS: The telescope has been built in the northern foothills of the Caucasus mountains, about 800 miles (1300 kilometres) from Moscow. Its commissioning comes less than a year after the world's largest optional telescope was put into use by the same observatory. The two telescopes will be used to complement each other in joint research programmes.
The radio telescope cost an estimated 27 million roubles (22 million sterling) and it's known as RATAN-600. RATAN is the Russian initials of the Radio Astronomical Telescope of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. The figure 600 refers to the diameter in metres of the huge ring of aluminium 'mirrors' used to pick up radio signals from the depths of the universe and reflect them towards an aerial of the telescope's receiving system.
Sixteen expeditions were sent out before the site was chosen. The area enjoys 100 cloudless days a year and there's no atmospheric turbulence to interfere in the astronomers' work.