Mounted on the top of the Sierra Negra peak in Mexico, the Large Millimeter Telescope is believed to be the world's largest such device in terms of its frequency range. Sputnik Spain interviewed Mexican astrophysicist Arturo Gomez, one of the scientists who participate in the project.
Dome of the 1.6m telescope at the Pico dos Dias Observatory, National Laboratory of Astrophysics (LNA), Itajubá, Brazil
The Large Millimeter Telescope is designed for observing radio waves in the wave lengths ranging from approximately 0.85 to 4 mm.
Located at an altitude of 4,850 meters on top of the Sierra Negra peak in Mexico, it has an active surface with a diameter of 50 meters (160 feet) and its collecting area totals 1,960 square meters (21,100 square feet).
This unique device is needed in order to better understand how our universe was formed and developed.
"We work with two instruments. The first one explores distant galaxies, while the other instrument, the bolometer, determines the temperature of celestial bodies. It allows us to take photographs of the starry sky, Gomez said.
From April 4 to April 10, the Large Millimeter Telescope was used for conducting an experiment to study a supermassive black hole located in the centre of our galaxy. Apart from the Large Millimeter Telescope, eight telescopes from all across the world operating in the millimetre range have been added to the experiment.
“The scientific task is to follow the shadow of this black hole. This is a very important experiment because so far no one has been able to watch a black hole directly. This is only possible when you examine emissions in the millimetre range," Gomez said.
The Large Millimeter Telescope is touted as the biggest scientific apparatus ever constructed in Mexico.
According to Gomez, the device will contribute to the technological development of his country and help scientists who work in the field of space exploration.
"In terms of education and Mexico's technological development, this telescope is of paramount importance," he said.
© The two images here are © L'Astorina