National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

ASTE Telescope

What is the ASTE telescope?

The ASTE telescope (Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment) is a submillimeter telescope with a diameter of 10 meters located at an altitude of 4860 meters at Pampa La Bora in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. The ASTE telescope observes radio waves shorter than one millimeter (submillimeter waves) to view the dark Universe that we cannot see with the naked eye.

ASTE telescope


With great observing capabilities and excellent conditions at Pampa la Bola, ASTE plays an important role in astronomy and astrophysics. The ASTE telescope is operated mainly by NAOJ in collaboration with universities, such as the University of Chile, the University of Tokyo, Nagoya University, Keio University, Osaka Prefecture University, Ibaraki University, and Joetsu University of Education. ASTE aims to explore the Universe invisible to human from the southern hemisphere with submillimeter wavelength, as well as to develop and evaluate observational instruments and methods suitable for submillimeter observations. Full-scale spectroscopic submillimeter observations in 0.87 millimeters (350 GHz) are currently performed.


LocationAtacama Desert in Northern Chile (Pampa La Bora at an altitude of 4860 meters)
Antenna manufacturerMitsubishi Electric Corporation
Aperture10 meters
WavelengthSubmillimeter (270 - 500 GHz)


2002The ASTE telescope was installed in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Commissioning observations started.
2004Full-scale spectroscopic observation in submillimeter (0.87 millimeters) started.
2007Japan, United States, and Mexico started joint observations using millimeter-wavelength camera.
2011Tera-Hertz frequency receiver developed by the University of Tokyo and others installed and tested.
2012New multi-color continuum-camera developed by NAOJ installed and tested.
2017New-type radio-camera developed by the Delft University of Technology installed and tested.

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