Funding promises a new performance era for the IRAM 30m

November 24, 2020
Funds approved for upgrade of the world’s most sensitive millimeter single dish telescope, the IRAM 30-meter telescope. Credits: IRAM

The Spanish science ministry has decided to dedicate important amounts (4 million EUR) of European structural funds (FEDER) to refurbish and upgrade the IRAM 30-meter telescope.

The IRAM 30-meter telescope is a lighthouse facility for millimeter wave astronomy since more than three decades and, for this type of telescope, unequaled in sensitivity and scientific productivity with world leading instrumentation. The telescope is qualified as a facility for scientific excellence. It is timely to refurbish and upgrade this unique observatory to bring it to a new level of performance which is matched by the new generation of instruments in development and the combination of data from the IRAM 30-meter telescope and IRAM's second facility, the NOEMA observatory. The upgrade will also considerably enhance the power of the telescope as a VLBI station for the world wide EHT collaboration in the hunt to image and characterize supermassive black holes.

Technically the upgrade will consist mainly of two parts. The drive system controlling the movements will be replaced by a more performant and modern system which will allow precise and fast source tracking even under relatively high wind conditions. On the other side the surface of the telescope will be upgraded to allow higher efficiency in the short millimeter range.