Submillimeter Wave Astrophysics at Caltech

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Submillimeter wave astronomy is a relatively new branch of astronomy that studies celestial objects using the submillimeter band of the electromagnetic spectrum, which ranges from 0.1 mm to 1.0 mm (300 GHz to 3000 GHz). This band, which lies between the far infrared and high-frequency radio bands, contains valuable astonomical information in both continuum and molecular spectral lines, but has been unavailable to astronomers until recently because most of the radiation is blocked by the Earth's atmosphere. In order to overcome this barrier, submillimeter observatories are usually placed at high altitude.

The Caltech Submillimeter Wave Astrophysics group pursues research in all areas of submillimeter astronomy, including molecular spectroscopy, astrochemistry, star formation, and the structure and evolution of galaxies. With a strong tradition in instrumentation, the group operates the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory with support from the NSF. The group also developed instruments for the Herschel Space Observatory.

The group is led by:

Research activities

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    Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics
    California Institute of Technology, 301-17
    1200 East California Boulevard
    Pasadena, CA 91125
    Phone: (626) 395-6608
    Fax: (626) 796-8806

    Last updated: 2012 October 11
    sradford@caltech.edu