Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
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As a research institute of the Smithsonian Institution, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is headquartered in Cambridge, MA, where it is joined with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO) to form the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). More than 300 scientists at the CfA are engaged in a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, earth and space sciences, and science education.

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HEB Development at the Submillimeter Receiver Lab

In collaboration with the Moscow State Pedagogical University (MPSU), the receiver lab staff is actively developing Hot Electron Bolometer (HEB) devices for heterodyne mixers at submillimeter frequencies and beyond. In January 2000, the first fully-resolved ground-based detection of a terahertz spectral line from an astronomical source (CO 9-8 in Orion BN/KL) was obtained with the HEB receiver.

CO 9-8 in Orion nebula
SMTO in winter

HEB test cryostat in Cambridge
This detection, along with a small map, was made at the 10-meter SMTO/HHT, pictured at left. These results have been submitted for publication by Kawamura et al. A description of the instrument which obtained these observations can be found here and here. You can also read more details in this joint CfA/Steward Observatory press release, and in the CfA Almanac. The press release was carried in many outlets, including and EarthChangesTV. Sky and Telescope also published a brief article, along with the Arizona Daily Star.
Last modified: Fri Feb 16 13:43:34 2007