The Metsähovi Radio Observatory is the only radio-astronomical observatory in Finland, and one of the major research and teaching infrastructures of the university. It operates a 14 m diameter radio telescope at Metsähovi, Kylmälä, Finland, about 30 km west from the university campus. The institute also has premises in the School of Electrical Engineering building, Otakaari 5, Espoo.
Around 15–20 scientists, engineers, research assistants, and supporting personnel mainly from Aalto University work at the institute. In addition about 10 students every year perform radio astronomical observations under guidance of Metsähovi staff.
In the same area, near Metsähovi Radio Observatory, there are also the buildings of the Metsähovi Observatory (University of Helsinki, optical astronomy) and the Metsähovi Space Geodetic Station (National Land Survey, geodesy).
The Metsähovi Radio Observatory has been operational since 1974. The telescope was upgraded in 1992-1994. The radome was replaced with a new one and new surface panels were installed. The surface accuracy of the present telescope is 0.1 mm (rms). More pictures of Metsähovi can be found in the Metsähovi gallery page, information about the coordinates of Metsähovi from here, and some historical publications are located here.
The Metsähovi Radio Observatory is active in the following fields:
- Research in radio astronomy
- Development of instruments needed in radio astronomy
- Development of methods for radio astronomical measurements
- Space research
Metsähovi participates in the education given at Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering by organizing courses and exercises for students. Graduate students can study for a licentiate's or doctor's degree at Metsähovi. See the studies page for more information.
Technology at Metsähovi
The activities at Metsähovi are concentrated on millimeter and microwaves. The frequencies used are 2-150 GHz, corresponding to the wavelengths in the range of 13.0 cm-2.0 mm. The research in technology includes development of microwave receivers, development of receiving methods, development of data acquisition and data processing and development of antenna technology. For details about Metsähovi’s equipment, see main instruments pages.
The objects of radio astronomical research are: solar millimeter and microwave radiation, variable quasars, active galaxies, molecular line radiation, and very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). For more information about the research done in Metsähovi, see research page.
Since the early 1990's Metsähovi Radio Observatory has been one of the few institutes in the world where VLBI data acquisition systems have been actively constructed and developed further. Our focus has been on maximizing the applicability of Commercially Available Off-the-Shelf (COTS) technology for VLBI data acquisition applications. Metsähovi has pioneered in the use of VSI (VLBI Standard Interface), the internationally-agreed interfacing standard for VLBI data acquisition. For more information on our ongoing development projects, see research & development.
Visits and excursions to Metsähovi are arranged strictly by prior agreement. If you are interested in visiting Metsähovi, contact the director (email metsahovi at aalto.fi, other contact details here).
N.B.: Mobile phones, cameras with WiFi, laptops with Bluetooth or WiFi, and even cars with GPS or parking radar affect our observations, and all radio-emitting devices must be switched off before entering the area.
How to find us
Metsähovi Radio Observatory
GPS: N 60 13.069 E 24 23.587
Phone: +358 29 4424 858
Email: metsahovi at aalto.fi
Fax: +358 9 256 4531 (accepts voice calls only during emergencies)
Telescope operation, scientific projects and telescope time allocation:
metsahovi at aalto.fi
If you need the contact information for a specific person, take a look at our staff.