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 technological progress, and not for the sake of another sales record. Two bright representatives of this kind of technology by the will of fate were thrown high into the mountains of the North Caucasus.

Not far from Arkhyz there is an object that has retained 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 Of Russia.

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

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

But for employees who are fed up with this beauty, everything seems a little different. Astrophysicists are sitting in a cramped control room and watching on antediluvian monitors to see if anything revolutionary is revealed. 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 structure 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, clinging to steep cliffs. It's scary, but the views from the window compensate for all the difficulties.

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

The world's largest radio telescope RATAN-600.

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Measurements take place on average once every five minutes. And to reconfigure the equipment, the operator girl (yes, only women work in this position) moves this machine, setting the distance with 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 way.

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 it.

Through cows to the stars: how Caucasian astrophysics lives

Keywords: Caucasus | Telescope

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