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World’s most impressive observatories
Not only scientists, but also entrepreneurs have been focused on space exploration and research today. They invest considerable sums of money and give financial support to researchers.
Since 1990, scientists with special techniques and calculations have been able to discover that there are more than 4,000 planets outside the solar system. Powerful observatories provide the best technical assistance.
One of the most global technologically advanced observatories is located in Hawaii, USA, on top of the volcano Mauna Kea. It was founded in 1954, more than half a century ago by philanthropist William Keck.
Just imagine that this observatory is equipped with two telescopes. Besides, the height of each of them is equal to 8 floors. These telescopes were recently considered the largest in the world (we will mention the largest telescope further in our article), tracking objects to the nearest nanometer.
Many exoplanets have been discovered at the Keck Observatory. The method is called the Doppler effect (measuring changes in stellar light). This observatory has signed a contract with Nasa to jointly explore outer space until 2023.
South African Astronomical Observatory
Another high-tech and famous observatory is situated in the South African capital, Cape Town. In narrow circles it is known as SAAO. This observatory is considered one of the best equipped in the world. It is noteworthy that almost all SAAO telescopes are not in its vicinity, but in another city, Sutherland (South Africa).
The observatory has four impressive modern telescopes, including well-known SALT and Lesedi.
The South African Astronomical Observatory, along with 69 other observatories in other countries, investigated the explosion of two neutron stars that collided in the fall of 2017. This impact was detected by the European Virgo antenna and the US LIGO telescope.
LIGO laser observatory
It is high time to discuss the LIGO observatory mentioned above. It is considered to be the world's largest laser and wave observatory. However, it became widely known relatively recently in 2016. This observatory helped to track a strong gravitational burst, which turned out to be provoked by the collision of two black holes. LIGO then proved the presence of gravitational waves and became revered in research circles.
The observatory is financed by the US National Science Foundation. Today, LIGO is a center of attraction for many scientists around the world. There they observe gravitational waves that Albert Einstein suggested a century ago.
This Chilean observatory was founded in 1999. It is part of one of the oldest space research facilities, the European Southern Observatory (ISO). The Paranal Observatory is located 2,635 meters above sea level in the Atacama Desert.
It is equipped with five high-tech telescopes. Among the observatory's facilities is one of the most impressive modern optical instruments for astronomical observations, the Very Large Telescope. It is a giant telescope composed of smaller ones. This telescope can image celestial objects at 30 magnitudes due to its impressive design. It is 4 billion times fainter than the human eye can see. Moreover, the telescope has repeatedly been able to see exoplanets (including the first images of such planets on its own).
Besides, there is an equipped residence for astronomers in the Paranal Observatory. Scientists, working at the station, have access to a swimming pool, a beautiful garden, a gym and a restaurant. Moreover, a part of the James Bond saga was filmed there.
Eye of Heaven, China
This is not an independent observatory, but a powerful modern radio telescope, known among scientists and businessmen. Its project began to be developed in 1994. The Eye of Heaven is a joint campaign of the National Astronomical Observatory of China and the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner.
The launch of this spherical telescope, FAST, occured in 2016. It took 10 years to find a suitable location for the installation as the prerequisite for its construction was a natural crater in the area. Consequently, the Chinese government had to negotiate with the inhabitants of a village. 65 people were moved to another place, and the Eye of Heaven was erected on the site of their former houses. Another 10,000 people living nearby were relocated to dwellings farther away for safety reasons.
The size of the telescope is impressive, 500 meters in diameter and 140 meters in depth. FAST is able to pick up even the most distant cosmic signals.
Roque de los Muchachos Observatory
Finally, Roque de los Muchachos is another well-known laboratory located in the Canaries. Like many other observatories, it is built high in the mountains, 2,396 meters above sea level.
The peculiarity of this Canarian observatory is the concentration of the largest collection of telescopes from all corners of our planet on its territory. Besides, it has the largest telescope in the world, the Grand Canary Telescope. The size of its mirrors is 10.4 meters. The telescope can detect light from even the most distant cosmic objects.