From NSF: “Greenland Telescope achieves ‘first light'”

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National Science Foundation

Greenland Telescope achieves “first light”

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Using an artificial light source on South Mountain at the Thule Air Base, Greenland, the Greenland Telescope has proved its operational effectiveness and achieved a significant milestone toward being an operational telescope.

The optical telescope, attached to the telescope’s 12-meter radio dish, with its focus set just shy of infinity, captured the lights on South Mountain. This is a significant milestone and step toward an operating telescope!

The telescope’s science team will spend the coming weeks fine-tuning and pointing the telescope at known astronomical sources to help calibrate the instrument. They plan to participate with other telescopes in a springtime Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) -observation campaign. The Greenland Telescope is also set to observe as part of the Event Horizon Telescope campaign in April. Event Horizon is a project to create a large telescope array consisting of a global network of radio telescopes and combining data from several very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) stations around the Earth. The aim is to observe the immediate environment of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole.

Originally a North America Prototype Antenna for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, assembly of the telescope was completed in July 2017. OPP’s Arctic Research Support & Logistics program has provided guidance and planning support to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) throughout the effort to install the telescope in Greenland. The Greenland Telescope project is a joint effort between SAO and ASIAA in Taiwan.

See the full article here .

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…we are the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.