Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Now marketing tricks rule the ball, and we can only hope for luck that the thing will turn out to be really high-quality, and not a hyped dummy. The benefits are mainly brought by inventions that were created by engineers for the sake of technical progress, and not for the sake of another sales record. Two bright representatives of this kind of technology were thrown high into the mountains of the North Caucasus by the will of fate. 

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Not far from Arkhyz there is an object that has kept its place in the Guinness Book of Records for 40 years. We are talking about an optical telescope weighing 850 tons. At its base is a mirror with a diameter of six meters. After casting, it cooled down for several months, and the grinding process took almost two years. The telescope was first used for its intended purpose in 1977, and observations continue to this day. 

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

The location of the observatory was not chosen by chance. 12 expeditions were sent throughout the territory, looking for a suitable location: far from big cities, high in the mountains, most nights during the year should be clear. Two places matching the description were found. And as a result, preference was given to what is located in Russia.

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Tourists, of course, find this place deeply romantic. Endless sky, patriarchal silence, unusually close stars… 

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

But for employees who are fed up with this beauty, everything seems a little different. Astrophysicists sit in a cramped operator's room and monitor the antediluvian monitors to see if anything revolutionary is found. It may seem boring to some, but scientists are carried away by such an occupation with their heads.

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Inside the building there is a small alpine vegetable garden.

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

You can get here either by a boring asphalt serpentine, or through high-mountain passes, where you have to wade along precipices, pressing against steep cliffs. It's scary, but the views from the window compensate for all the difficulties. 

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

This road is only for horses or four-wheel drive cars. 

In the mountains, you constantly meet cows and eagles. Both of them feel themselves masters of the situation and are not at all embarrassed by strangers.

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

The world's largest radio telescope is RATAN-600. 

Only aerial photography is able to fully show this colossal structure (about 600 meters in diameter). Until now, it remains the only object of its kind. The giant radio telescope is able to register radiation from space objects at a very long distance, conducting observations in several frequency ranges. 

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Measurements take place on average once every five minutes. And to reconfigure the equipment, the girl operator (yes, only women work in this position) moves this machine, setting the distance to an accuracy of two millimeters. This is done with the help of the most ordinary roulette. As practice has shown, this is the most reliable and accurate method. 

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Once this technique was at the forefront of engineering, but now it is very close to turning into scenery for science fiction films. With proper funding, the telescope could serve for many more years, but, apparently, no one cares about this.

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Keywords: Russian Federation | Travel | Telescope | Technologies | Caucasus

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