Universe study center to be launched in Dagestan

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A compact ground-based antenna array may be constructed on a plateau of the Mayak mountain in Dagestan. The project development is currently carried out by scientists of the Astrospace Center of the Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences within the framework of the concept of subterahertz (frequencies above 100 GHz) observatories of the new generation.

The ground-based antenna arrays can be linked to the ground-based telescopes as well as with the Millimetre Space Observatory in the mode of an ultra-long baseline interferometer.

The observations will address the most pressing questions in modern astrophysics: the evolution of the early universe, the processes of star and planet formation, the search and study of complex organic compounds in the interstellar medium and young stellar systems, and the study of compact supermassive objects.

The prototype array for the practice of key technologies will consist of several antennas (three to six) with a diameter of 3 to 5 meters. Initially, it is planned to be installed at the Pushchino Radio Astronomy Observatory (PRAO), where all conditions for testing the system are available. After the tests are over, scientists plan to create a full-fledged subterahertz observatory based on the prototype antenna and carrier platform. It will consist of six fully rotatable antennas with a diameter of up to 8 m and an antenna surface quality of about 40 microns. The facility will be located in Dagestan.

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