JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN SANFORD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
View of the antenna and open dome of the 12 metre microwave telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Arizona, USA. This telescope, which was known as the 36 foot telescope before a major upgrade in 1984, is part of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). It is designed to study the chemical make-up of molecular clouds, and give insight into the process of star formation. Kitt Peak is at an altitude of 2000 metres, above the worst of the water vapour which absorbs microwave radiation. Microwaves typically have a wavelength in the millimetre range, and fall between radio and infrared frequencies.
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