Eight years after the opening of the first antenna, engineers have completed the construction of the largest northern hemisphere radio observatory, with 12 15-metre antennas, which can be moved on special rails up to 1.7 km long.
The telescope has highly sensitive reception systems operating close to the quantum limit, reports the press service of the Max Planck Society, which was involved in the design and construction of the system. All twelve antennas operate as one large radio telescope.
For observation, all antennas are sent to the same area of space after which, interferometricly, the signals they receive are combined by means of a supercomputer. In such processing, the resolution of the details corresponds to the resolution of a large telescope whose diameter corresponds to the distance between the extreme antennas.
By means of a specially designed rail system, individual telescopes can be moved up to 1.7 km. This technology allows the telescope to be adapted for specific research.
The developers point out that NOEMA is one of the few radio observatorys in the world that can detect and measure at the same time a large number of different signatures — traces of different molecules and atoms. Through multi-line observations and high sensitivity, it can explore the complexity of cold matter in interstellar space and building blocks of space, and it can capture light that has gone to Earth for more than 13 billion years.