SAO Submillimeter Array in Hawaii Is Dedicated

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On November 22, 2003, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Submillimeter Array atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii, is dedicated. The Submillimeter Array (SMA) explores the universe by detecting light of colors which are not visible to the human eye. It receives millimeter and submillimeter radiation, so named because its wavelength ranges from 0.3 to 1.7 millimeter, or 0.01 to 0.07 inches. The SMA, the world's first imaging interferometric telescope at the submillimeter wavelengths, consists of 8 movable antennas that can be positioned along the sides of a Releaux triangle to provide optimal imaging quality. Each antenna is composed of a smooth parabolic reflector 6 meters (19 and 2/3 feet) in diameter. The signals from the antennas are amplified and combined electronically to give the resolution equivalent to an antenna of 0.5 km (0.3 miles) across.


  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Field stations


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Smithsonian Institution 2003 Annual Report, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 2004, pp. 12-13.
  • "The Submillimeter Array," by Paul T.P. Ho, James M. Moran and Kwok Yung Lo,, accessed 04/28/2008.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


November 22, 2003


  • Astrophysics
  • New Programs
  • Submillimeter astronomy
  • Telescopes
  • Submillimeter waves
  • Astronomy



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