Atacama Pathfinder Experiment

Atacama Pathfinder Experiment
The APEX telescope
Alternative namesAPEX Edit this at Wikidata
Part ofEvent Horizon Telescope
Llano de Chajnantor Observatory Edit this on Wikidata
Location(s)Atacama Desert
Coordinates23°00′21″S 67°45′33″W / 23.0058°S 67.7592°W / -23.0058; -67.7592Coordinates: 23°00′21″S 67°45′33″W / 23.0058°S 67.7592°W / -23.0058; -67.7592 Edit this at Wikidata
OrganizationEuropean Southern Observatory
Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy
Onsala Space Observatory Edit this on Wikidata
Altitude5,064 m (16,614 ft) Edit this at Wikidata
Wavelength0.2, 1.5 mm (1.50, 0.20 THz)
First light2004 Edit this on Wikidata
Telescope styleCassegrain reflector
cosmic microwave background experiment
radio telescope Edit this on Wikidata
Diameter12 m (39 ft 4 in) Edit this at Wikidata
Mountingaltazimuth mount Edit this on Wikidata Edit this at Wikidata Edit this at Wikidata
Atacama Pathfinder Experiment is located in Chile
Atacama Pathfinder Experiment
Location of Atacama Pathfinder Experiment
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) is a radio telescope 5,064 meters above sea level, at the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, 50 km east of San Pedro de Atacama built and operated by 3 European research institutes. The main dish has a diameter of 12 m and consists of 264 aluminium panels with an average surface accuracy of 17 micrometres (rms). The telescope was officially inaugurated on September 25, 2005.

The APEX telescope is a modified ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) prototype antenna and is at the site of the ALMA observatory. APEX is designed to work at sub-millimetre wavelengths, in the 0.2 to 1.5 mm range — between infrared light and radio waves — and to find targets that ALMA will be able to study in greater detail. Submillimetre astronomy provides a window into the cold, dusty and distant Universe, but the faint signals from space are heavily absorbed by water vapour in the Earth's atmosphere. Chajnantor was chosen as the location for such a telescope because the region is one of the driest on the planet and is more than 750 m higher than the observatories on Mauna Kea and 2400 m higher than the Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal.[1]

APEX is a collaboration between the German Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) at 50%, the Swedish Onsala Space Observatory (OSO) at 23%, and the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) at 27%.[2] The telescope was designed and constructed by the German firm VERTEX Antennentechnik GmbH, under contract by MPIfR.[3] The operation of APEX on Chajnantor is entrusted to ESO.

  1. ^ "ESO - APEX". ESO. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  2. ^ "APEX - Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment". Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference esopr0522 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).