By May, the Atacama desert is expected to be home to another state-of-the-art telescope, this one designed specifically to gather information on the origins of the universe.
The Polarbear Telescope project is a joint effort between nine international institutions, including McGill University in Canada, Imperial College London, the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego amongst others. A microwave telescope with a large imaging camera, the Polarbear is part of the ongoing Cosmic Microwave Background experiment, which has used microwave technology to gather information on the age, shape and contents of our universe.
Hans Paar, a UC San Diego astrophysicist, told SignOn San Diego’s Science Quest that the the telescope is currently awaiting installation in Chile and its assembly is expected to begin around the middle of May. The telescope arrives in Chile after a brief testing period in California, and awaits installation at an expected site that lies 16,500 feet above sea level in the Atacama.
In this desert, parts of which have never seen rain in recorded history, the Polarbear will be one of many world class astronomy facilities that take advantage of the clearest skies on earth to record remarkable imagines of the universe.
The newest addition to the Atacama’s growing cadre of astronomical facilities is expected to be operational sometime in mid-July.