«Aristarchos» Telescope on Mount Chelmos
Chelmos Observatory or «Emilios Harlaftis Observatory»* is located on Mount Chelmos (Aroania) in the Northern Peloponnese at an altitude of 2,340 m (7,677 ft), 130 km west of Athens and about 15 km from the city of Kalavryta. The site is one of the darkest areas in Greece and Europe.
The facilities at Chelmos Observatory include the dome building, which hosts the telescope, the telescope control and guest house building, a dome housing the small telescope used for atmospheric monitoring, as well as the building that hosts the electrical power equipment and the supporting power generators.
The «Aristarchos» Telescope is situated on «Neraidorachi», a peak of Mount Chelmos. It was constructed by the German company Carl Zeiss GmbH, with the finance from the universities of Patras and Manchester, and was inaugurated in the summer of 2007.
Its observation range covers approximately half the distance of the known Universe. Neraidorachi is considered one of the darkest locations in Europe: at that altitude, the telescope remains free of light pollution emanating from the lowlands.
The telescope has been named after Aristarchus of Samos, a pioneering astronomer of antiquity. The telescope’s cutting-edge technology includes cameras and spectrometers of high definition as well as enormously specialized scientific equipment. It has an observation reach of 7 billion light years away from earth.
The telescope belongs to the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) and is considered the largest one in the Balkans and the second largest in Europe.
* Emilios Harlaftis was a Greek astrophysicist who led the scientific team that set up «Aristarchos» telescope, but did not live to see it completed. He died at age 40, along with four other climbers, by avalanche during a mountaineering expedition in Mount Menalo, Peloponnese in 2005.
«Aristarchos» Telescope Time-lapse video
Location of «Aristarchos» Telescope on map