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TAO Project

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The Institute of Astronomy, School of Science, University of Tokyo, is promoting TAO (The University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory) project to construct a 6.5 m infrared telescope with world-class performance in Atacama, Chile. We will install this big telescope at 5640 m altitude, the highest astronomical site on the surface of the Earth, and make observations to investigate the origins of galaxies and planets.

5640 m altitude; the highest astronomical site in the world

We are planning to build the TAO telescope at an altitude of 5640 m; the highest astronomical site in the world. This extremely dry site has less water vapor in the atmosphere above it than any other location on Earth; since water vapor absorbs infrared rays from the universe, this unique condition, together with its clear skies almost every day, make this site one of the best places for cosmic infrared observations. Moreover, Atacama, Chile is located in the southern hemisphere, so we can observe astronomical objects that are never visible from the northern hemisphere.

£The TAO telescope is being built at the summit of Co. Chajnantor in northern Chile. Co. Chajnantor is located in the Andes Mountains near the Atacama Desert.

Collaborations with other telescopes such as ALMA

We aim at an overall understanding of galaxy properties by observing the same galaxies with both TAO and ALMA.