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18th of May 2023
A history of 3mm observations
In 2015, Heyer and Dame reviewed molecular clouds in the Milky Way, with a focus on carbon monoxide observations with single-dish telescopes. CO emission at 115 GHz was discovered in 1969 with the NRAO 36-foot telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona. The importance of a spectral line to probe molecular clouds was immediately recognised, and a number of other 3mm dishes soon came on line, with the Millimeter Wave Observatory (MWO) 5m telescope in Fort Davis, Texas, being next. These results did not go unnoticed in the southern hemisphere, and a 4m telescope was built on CSIRO's Marsfield site in Sydney for 3mm observing. The telescope was formally opened in August 1976, and operated through the 1980s, mapping CO along the galactic plane (in often less the ideal observing conditions!). The 22m Mopra telescope, located at a much better site near Coonabarabran, is now much better known than the Epping 4m. As shown above, Mopra came on-line at the end of 1990, although it was not until 1995 that observing commenced in the 3mm band.

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