The Heruni telescope, mothballed in the 2000s, is planned to be restored in order to continue observations on it.
The Heruni mirror telescope, or ROT-54 / 2.6, was built in 1985 in Armenia by the project of the Soviet physicist Paris Misakovich Heruni. It is located on Mount Aragats, 1711 meters above sea level. The main mirror of the telescope is in the form of a hemisphere with a diameter of 54 meters. The secondary mirror is much smaller in diameter - only five meters.
The Heruni telescope project is unique in that it is able to capture the night sky simultaneously in two wavelength ranges. The device was originally designed to shoot at wavelengths down to one millimeter, but its operating range after construction was between three and 30 millimeters.
The telescope managed to survive the Spitak earthquake, and, thanks to Mount Aragats, it was practically not damaged. The project was mothballed in the 2000s, although the telescope was proposed to be restored in the mid-1990s. They tried to implement these plans in the period from 1995 to 2010, but the work did not start due to funding difficulties. Since about 2012, moving the secondary mirror has been impossible due to a faulty control lever.
Telescope Heruni / © Byurakan Observatory
Despite the rather long conservation, today the antenna can be restored and used for observations in the centimeter range, and with additional polishing - in the millimeter range. This is stated by Arevik Sargsyan, the keeper of the radio telescope. True, for this it is necessary to update the control system, carry out a comprehensive adjustment, replace outdated analog sensors with digital ones and improve the data processing system. The giant ROT-54 telescope was last turned on in 2011.
The Jurisdiction Armenia Foundation proposed to reconstruct the world's first radio telescope. The organization plans to start work on restoring the working capacity of the astronomical complex this year.