Ring in the mountains
It lies in the spurs of the Great Caucasus mountain range, in Mesopotamia and the Great Zelenchuk Husy. The enormous, snow-white. A bird's-eye it looks like a piece of mysterious "Nazca drawings" on the coast of Peru. And those pictures left of the old civilization, it seems that this ring — a symbol for intruders. From the center of the ring radially crawl monotonous straight strip. According to him, at times, move "ships" with metal square sails. In the plain of complete calm, but sails bend over backwards to beat them a ray of sunshine, as if not on earth, but gallaktichesky wind fills them.
And here I am standing in the center of the ring and see it from the inside. Around — the wall almost tightly pressed against each other iron plates, tall with a luxurious two-storey house. Some of their faces to the sky. Suddenly, somewhere above his head, as if from the sky, is heard repeatedly amplified the voice of the speaker: "Attention! On the flat you can work out follow-up program. " It takes a minute, and the other … In the ringing silence upturned edge of the iron rings slowly leveled and immediately up to heaven, he rejected the other side.
Barely perceptible movement of planes makes tremendous memory, as if all this is not happening in reality, and in a fantastic dream. Here are swayed and swam to the center of the ring is one of the "ships" … it slides along the rails — it's the same circular lines emanating from the center of the ring. A "solar sail" — such as steel plate, as well as those that make up the ring.
All this RATAN-600 — the largest in the world ring radio telescope with variable-profile antenna, commissioned in 1974. RATAN — an abbreviation of the words radio telescope of the Academy, the number 600 — the diameter of its circular mirror in meters. Indescribable device, the size of the stadium, located in the high mountain valley at an altitude of almost kilometer above sea level. Trailing plain mountain firmly protect the RATAN-party interference and fickle atmosphere.
Exactly 80 years ago, in 1932, a radio engineer, Karl Jansky, studying the source of interference to the radio, found the unknown noise. In their own publications, he noted that "… the direction of arrival of the sizzling noise varies evenly over the day or making a complete rotation in 24 hours." In the process of its own follow-up tests Karl Jansky uniformly concluded that the source of noise is the noise nevedmyh sky — the radio emission of our galaxy. That's right, in the fight against radio interference was born brand new science of radio astronomy.
The radio telescope was for people "second window" to sky, allowing behold the many phenomena and objects that are difficult to monitor for optical instruments. With it was able to "feel out" the galaxy and set her spiral shape. Were suddenly discovered quasars (quasi-stellar radio sources) and pulsars. Radio astronomers found a "cosmic background radiation" — gallakticheskoe microwave radio emission from "nowhere" to "nowhere", according to current cosmological theories we hear the echo of a huge explosion at the time of the birth of the universe.
For radio astronomy is not bottlenecking as clouds or daylight catchy — antenna beams allow you to monitor "elusive" Mercury, which because of its proximity to the Sun hard to follow in the ordinary telescopes — planetka rises above the horizon only during the hours of dawn and disappears from the sky immediately after sunset . The sensitivity of radio telescopes is staggering — energy received by all the radio telescopes in the world for 80 years of radio astronomy is not enough to whet a drop of water on a hundredth of a degree.
The Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors
To see the detail ring have to walk a hundred yards along the sloped grass by smelling haystacks. In general, the RATAN truly magnificent object: There is overlap ordinary earthly world and the message of the far depths of the cosmos. And while scientists are engaged in the affairs of gallakticheskimi, in the middle part of their cyclopean instrument plain continues to live their ordinary lives.
Match tightly to the plates constituting the ring. A total of 895, and any size of 11.4 x 2 meters. Wide gaps between the plates, and of themselves they are quite solid but composed of smaller plates. Let me — grin reader — how this carelessly assembled structure capable of trapping gallakticheskie signals? Look at the Arecibo Radio Telescope Observatory (USA, 1963) — this is a real dish!
In fact, the "curve" RATAN antenna has amazingly accurate and capable pelengovat coordinates of celestial objects with an accuracy of one second of arc. In the process of the creation of large radio telescopes found out that you can not indefinitely increase the size of the mirrors — uniformly decreases the accuracy of their real surface. Scientists and engineers came up against the insurmountable problem of technology, before the time, until it was proposed to divide the mirror reflector into individual elements, and using geodetic and radio methods make of them perfectly smooth surface of all sizes.
RATAN-600 is created on the basis of developments NL Kaidanovsky. Russian astrologer suggested an unusual design where instead of building a solid circular antenna is used ring reflectors. The ring itself — a primary reflector, it first gathers energy gallakticheskih radio. Taking in the "sights" specified portion of the sky, reflecting the elements of each secto
r exhibited a parabola, forming reflecting and focusing the band antenna, with all this without breaking the super-smooth circular reflector. The focus of such strips are placed irradiators, they collect and record radio waves collected by the huge antenna. Ring-shaped antenna design provides an overview of the entire sky visible, and the presence of several illuminators can immediately follow a few gallakticheskih objects.
Perhaps we will not bore the reader enumeration greedy scientific features such as "limits on the brightness temperature" or "limit on the flux density." We only note that this diameter "ring" — 576 meters, and the effective antenna area — 3500 square meters. meters. The radio telescope is able to obtain a moment's spekry celestial objects in the spectrum (0.6? 30 GHz). Other information about the RATAN can easily find on the official website of Russian Astrophysical Observatory http://w0.sao.ru/ratan/
Operation "cold" or on the edge of the universe
On the RATAN were first taken large radio satellites of Jupiter — Io and Europa, which are thousands of times weaker than the radiation of a huge planet. Distinguish between them — vseravno that at the other end of the street hear the roar of the engine through the driver's breath KAMAZ.
Almost 40 years without annoying radio telescope observations of the sun is, examines the state of our star, determines the nature of its excitation and even learned how to diagnose a "solar disturbances." Conducted systematic study the Milky Way and extragalactic objects distant cosmos.
March 17, 1980 the research team began to test the RATAN codenamed "Cold" to how to look deep into the universe. The apparatus was set to receive the most feeble signals, radio sensitivity ensured ultralow temperatures — cooled receivers pairs boiling helium at a temperature of minus 260 ° C.
RATAN 100 days without annoying watching the sky at one point, in the end due to the rotation of the Earth in its field of view is not the point, and a narrow band. Were registered thousands of new sites, remote from us billions of light years, including being received immediate range of the quasar OQ172 — the most distant object at that point in the universe. The density of the distant objects in space has been mixed — the look on RATAN, the stronger all the decrease of the number of radio sources. One can imagine that in some places none at all — there has to be an impassable wall of opaque — "edge" of the universe. And who knows whether physics joke when draws the border fence near the quasar OQ-172?
The unique astronomical instrument RATAN-600 "is listed in the Guinness Record Book", is currently in the department Russian Astrophysical Observatory and the continued exploration of the universe. 20% of the time allocated for the RATAN international researchers, the rest of the radio telescope operates at the request of Russian astrologers. Bids received a lot — an average of competition is 1:3. Excellent Russian project has been appreciated by scientists from around the world.