Submillimeter Array

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Overview

Located on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, the Submillimeter Array, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Academia Sinica of Taiwan, observes the universe at submillimeter wavelengths.  Conceived in 1984, and operational since 2004, the array consist of eight 6-meter diameter dishes situated in what is called "Millimeter Valley" near the summit of Mauna Kea at an elevation of 4,080 meters.  Operating in the frequency range 180 - 900 GHz, the interferometric elements will be separable by distances up to 508 meters.  Signals from the separate elements can be combined to get the equivalent resolution of a single 0.5 km antenna.  Astronomers use the SMA to research star formation, the center of the galaxy, nearby galaxies, and Solar System objects.