Deployment at 4,572 Meters above sea level

Unichiller ensures precise measurements at the Indian Astronomical Observatory in the Western Himalayas
Deployment at 4,572 Meters above sea level / © Milkyway over Indian Astronomical Observatory by Navaneeth Unnikrishnan (PresseBox) (Offenburg, ) In an Indian observatory in the middle of the Himalayan mountains, a Huber chiller maintains constant operating temperatures for measuring instruments on an astronomical telescope. The observatory is located on Mount Saraswati in the Western Himalayas, near the town of Hanle, and is operated by the Indian Institute for Astrophysics. At a height of 4,572 meters, it is one of the highest observatories in the world. The observatory has an optical 2m infrared telescope, the “Himalayan Chandra Telescope” (HCT), which is controlled remotely by the “Center for Research and Education in Science and Technology” (CREST) near Bangalore through a dedicated satellite connection. To ensure that remote operation functions reliably, even at -30 °C in the winter and +30 °C in the summer, a Huber Unichiller cools the instrument electronics to a consistent temperature of 16 °C. The constant operating temperature also prevents measurement errors caused by severely fluctuating exterior temperatures.

Before installing the device in the Himalayas, a specialized testing chamber was built in order to simulate cooling under such extreme conditions. The low air pressure and extreme temperature fluctuations were the greatest technical challenges for the project. A Unichiller 040T with heating was custom-built using the findings of the tests and simulations. The device is designed to function reliably even under the difficult climate conditions – the Unichiller has been in operation since November 2015.

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