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A new astronomical facility for Peru: transforming a telecommunication's 32-metre antenna into a radio-telescope

  • José Ishitsuka (a1) (a2), M. Ishitsuka (a3), N. Kaifu (a4), M. Inoue (a2), M. Tsuboi (a5), M. Ohishi (a2), T. Kondo (a6), Y. Koyama (a6), T. Kasuga (a7), K. Fujisawa (a8), K. Miyazawa (a4), M. Miyoshi (a2), T. Umemoto (a5), T. Bushimata (a2), S. Horiuchi (a9) and E. Vidal (a1)...

Abstract

In 1984 an INTELSAT antenna of 32 m of diameter was constructed at 3 370 metres above the sea level on the Peruvian Andes. At the time Entel Perú the Peruvian tele-communications company managed the antenna station, of almost 12 hectares in extension. In 1993 the government transferred the station to the private telecommunications company Telefónica del Perú. Since transoceanic fiber optics replaced radically satellite communications in 2002, a beautiful 32- metre parabolic antenna was finished its tele-communications mission and become available for other use. So in cooperation with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan we began coordination to transform the antenna into a radio-telescope.

Researches on interstellar medium around Young Stellar Objects (YSO) are possible using methanol maser that emits at 6.7 GHz, so initially we will monitor and survey maser sources at the southern sky. An ambient temperature receiver with Trx = 60 K was developed at Nobeyama Radio Observatory and is ready to be installed. The antenna will be controlled by the Field System FS9 software installed in a PC within a Linux environment. An interface between antenna and PC was developed at Kashima Space Research Center in Japan by Mr E. Vidal.

In the near future S-band (2 GHz), X-band (8GHz), 12 GHz and 22 GHz observations are planned.

The peculiar position and altitude of the Peruvian Radio Observatory will be useful for VLBI observations with the VLBA for astronomical observation and geodetic measurements. For Peru where few or almost non astronomical observational instruments are available for research, implementation of the first radio observatory is a big step to foster sciences at graduate and postgraduate levels of universities.

Worldwide tele-communications antennas recently tend to finish their role as tele-communications antennas. Several of them are transformed into useful observational instruments.

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References

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Horiuchi, S., Murphy, D. W., Ishitsuka, J. K. & Ishitsuka, M. 2005, ASOP p572
Honma, M., Kawaguchi, N. & Sasao, T. 2000, SPIE Vol. 4015, Radio Telescope p624-p631
Menten, K. M. 2002, IAU Symp. 206, From Protostars to Black Holes p125
Minier, V., Ellingsen, S. P., Norris, R. P. & Booth, R. S. 2003, A&A, Vol. 403 p205
Sasao, T. 1996, 4th APT Workshop p94-p104
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