National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Somewhere over the Rainbow


Somewhere over the Rainbow

Altitude 1350 meters. Nobeyama Radio Observatory in the Nobeyama Highlands of Nagano Prefecture.

One day in November, a splendid rainbow appeared around the end of lunch break.

A 10 meter diameter radio telescope can be seen in the foreground, and behind that the 45 meter diameter radio telescope can be seen.

The Nobeyama 45-m Radio Telescope (also known as YonGo, “Four Five” in Japanese) has its main observing season from December to May. In November, final tests and adjustments preparing the equipment for full-scale observations continue night and day. In this picture the 10-m antenna and ‘YonGo’ are pointed straight up. Because this is the most stable configuration, this is how they are positioned when they’re not observing for long periods. Right at lunch break, the antennas were also resting. A grand rainbow bridging over them seems like a reward for all of their hard work.

Once the observing season starts, observations with YonGo continue nonstop, conducted by many researchers from throughout Japan and around the world. Because, unlike optical telescopes, radio telescopes can observe even during the day work continues around the clock.

Even today it continues to watch the heavens.

Text by: Miyazawa Kazuhiko (Nobeyama Radio Observatory)
Translation by: Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)