Tibet Gets Its First Professional Telescope

Tibet will soon have its first professional radio telescope, based at the Yangbajain Astronomical Observatory near the capital of Lhasa.

AsianScientist (Apr. 22, 2013) – A sub-millimeter radio telescope owned by the University of Cologne in Germany will be relocated to China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

It is currently being tested at the Yangbajain Astronomical Observatory at Yangbajain Township near Tibet’s capital of Lhasa.

According to Wang Junjie, a researcher with China’s National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the KOSMA telescope was dismantled and relocated from the Swiss Alps in 2009 as part of an initiative dedicated to joint research between the University of Cologne and several Chinese institutes.

“It is China’s first sub-millimeter-wave telescope that can perform regular astronomical observation and Tibet’s first professional telescope,” Wang told Xinhua.

Wang is also the leader of the telescope project jointly conducted by Chinese and German scientists.

At an altitude of 4,300 meters, the Yangbajain site is one of the best places in the world to observe cosmic rays due to atmospheric transparency at that altitude. Wang said the telescope will be used to study subjects including molecular clouds and star formations.

Under the agreement, the telescope will be owned by China but the University of Cologne will be given 20 percent of observation time after it goes operational, reports Xinhua.


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