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08:56 Sep 29 2011

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German expert at Yangbajain Astronomical Observatory
08:47, September 29, 2011  

Every morning of workdays, taking a portable oxygen cylinder, Martin Miller will ride to the Yangbajain Astronomical Observation base in Damxung county of Tibet, where he works with Chinese scientists to construct a submillimeter observatory.

Martin is a professor of University of Cologne in Germany, also a foreign expert of Sino-Germany KOSMA submilimeter telescope project. In 2002, Martin came to Tibet for the first time.

"I (then) saw a lot of projects were under construction, such as a new railway from Lhasa to Golmud. In 2009, when I came again, the railway had been complicated and we came to Tibet through the line. We did have a good journey that time", Martin said. After several visits to Tibet with different experiences, he decided to cooperate with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) to construct the submillimeter observatory.

In 2009, he and other Chinese scientists disassembled the KOSMA telescope in the Swiss Alps and craned it by helicopter to Yangbajain in Tibet.

Yangbajain Astronomical Observatory is 90 kilometers away from Lhasa, at an altitude of 4300 m, which makes it one of the best places to observe cosmic rays in the world. And once the submillimeter observatory is completed, China will become one of the few counties with KOSMA Submilimeter Telescope to perform regular astronomical observation.

"Some Chinese astronomers came to Switzerland Observatory and invite us to cooperate with them, and in Yangbajain I can continue some valuable papers", Martin said.

The installation of the KOSMA Submilimeter Telescope is more complicated than the disassembly.

"These holders are parts of the telescope, and when we reset them, these pipes need to remain the exactly same position as they were in at Switzerland Observatory."

They have to be very careful in the process of installation. If there are any mistakes, the whole process needs to be repeated from the very beginning. The installment of the telescope has been finished due to Martin and other Chinese scientists' hard work.

Martin and his colleagues are speeding up all the time to debug the submillimeter telescope. When the debugging work is done, it will open to the world. Scientists from other countries can apply for using this telescope for observations.

It will be China's first submillimeter telescope, also the one with highest elevation in the northern hemisphere. The construct of submillimeter telescope is significant to Chinese astronomy by promoting the sub-millimeter astronomy research and providing experience and infrastructure for China to develop submillimeter telescope independently in the future.

In order to ensure the quality of observation, Martin and other scientists wipe the mirror regularly to keep the mirror clean. He has been adapted to the new environment.

"If it is possible, I want to remain in Tibet for my favorite astronomical observation career", said Martin.

From: China Tibet Online
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