Gemma Observatory in New Hampshire
Inside, the building is lined with fir plywood to create a warm and inviting refuge, in which one can enjoy the stars. A faceted turret holds the observatory’s primary viewing platform, and the building also boasts an exterior observatory deck in the rear.
Hayden Planetarium in New York City
Operating out of the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, the new Hayden Planetarium sits in the stunning Rose Center for Earth and Space building. The previous planetarium was closed and demolished in 1997, and now in its place sits a 2,000-ton sphere that contains the planetarium.
Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii
Sitting at 13,796 feet in Hawaii, the white and silver Mauna Kea Observatory looks like what you’d expect from the world’s largest observatory for optical, infrared, and submillimeter astronomy.
Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona
Located 56 miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona, Kitt Peak was selected in 1958 as a site for a national observatory, after a 3-year survey that included 150 mountain ranges across the U.S.
Chacaltaya Astrophysical Observatory
Chacaltaya Astrophysical Observatory is currently an important site for gamma-ray research and belongs to the Universidad Mayor de San Andre. The observatory is operated in collaboration with other universities worldwide and currently hosts the Cosmic Rays research group. It also has been hosting the Chacaltaya GAW Station which is a monitoring site for essential climate variables.
Llano de Chajnantor Observatory
Llano de Chajnantor Observatory was constructed at 15,700-foot altitude in Llano de Chajnantor, which is part of the Atacama Desert, located in northern Chile. The observatory houses the world’s biggest and the most costly astronomical telescope project, known as the Atacama Large Millimeter Array.
Very Large Telescope (VLT), Chile
The Very Large Telescope is a telescope operated by the European Southern Observatory. It is located on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile. The VLT consists of four individual telescopes which are generally used separately but can be used together to achieve very high angular resolution.
The microwaves are the remnants of the Big Bang, a term used to describe the early universe. The Earth’s atmosphere blocks much of the light in the microwave band, so astronomers use satellite-based telescopes to observe cosmic microwaves. The entire sky is a source of microwaves. It is sometimes referred to as the cosmic microwave background (CMB).
Infrared observations have to overcome a lot of challenges. One of them is that everything that has heat emits infrared light. The telescope, the infrared detectors themselves and the atmosphere all emit infrared light. Another challenge is that, while some infrared radiation can make it through Earth’s atmosphere, the longer wavelengths are blocked.
The Earth’s atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet light, so this kind of observations can only be made in space. Apart from carefully selected materials for filters, an ultraviolet telescope is much like a regular visible light telescope.
It is estimated that the Big Bang took place about 13.8 billion years ago. During all this time it has cooled to just three degrees above absolute zero. This “three degrees” is what astronomers measure as the microwave background.
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