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Creation of the Institut de radioastronomie millimétrique (IRAM)

For many years, French radioastronomers had had been dreaming to extend their domain to millimetre waves, and had designed for this purpose an interferometer: a radio-telescope made up of many interconnected parabolic antennas. For their part, German colleagues were planning a large millimetre-wave radio-telescope. Since these projects were complementary, the scientific authorities decided to combine the two. So was created an institute whose base is at Grenoble, France, and that heads two instruments: an interferometer on the Bure plateau in the Dévoluy in the Rhône-Alpes region, made up six 15m-diameter mobile antennas–the number of antennas is being gradually increased to twelve­­–and a 30m-diameter radio-telescope in the Sierra Nevada in Spain. (Spain is a member of the project.)

caption : The Bure plateau interferometer - credits : IRAM/Rebus