Give for the future

New technology revolutionises the way we look at the universe – donate towards a new receiver at Metsähovi

Space has always stirred up our curiosity and fed our imagination. The universe is good at keeping its secrets, but thanks to the tireless and courageous scientists around the world, we now know more and see further than ever before.
Elliptical Galaxies
A Multi-Wavelength View of Radio Galaxy Hercules A taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Located in Kirkkonummi, Aalto University Metsähovi Radio Observatory is the only astronomical radio observatory and  continuously operational astronomical observation station in Finland. On a global level, Metsähovi is well known for its unique, continuous datasets, including solar monitoring programme that has lasted for over 40 years, and observations using high radio frequencies unreachable by most other radio observatories.

Metsähovi was also part of the international research effort that gave us the first picture of a black hole.

Now we want to upgrade the Metsähovi receiver to use the most modern technology possible. In recent years, a new type of receiver (Compact Triple-band Receiver, CTR) has been developed in South Korea, which makes it possible to observe three different frequencies simultaneously. This makes observations considerably faster and more accurate.

This is not a gradual improvement of the research infrastructure, but a huge leap forward to an entirely new technological level.


    Help us know more and see further than ever before

    Support the new receiver with a donation.

    The impact of this new receiver:

    1. Finland's unique expertise in astronomy, which is known to be of a high international standard, will rise to a whole new level. As a founding member of the new astronomical research network, we will be involved in determining how space is studied. Through the new network, we will be there when the next big space discoveries are made.
    2. The number of research objects will rise from hundreds to thousands. These research objects will include more distant and fainter quasars, their supermassive black holes, and the magnetic fields of the Sun and quasars. In addition, the three simultaneous frequencies will provide information about the Sun and its surface layers that we cannot currently obtain. With the help of this data, we can better understand the physical characteristics of the research objects. No one has yet been able to study the development of space objects on several radio frequencies at the same time so there are fantastic possibilities for completely new and surprising results.
    3. We will be able to better prepare for potential dangers. Solar outbursts and solar storms which would be potentially dangerous to us could be predicted weeks before they hit the Earth. Solar storms can damage satellites, electricity networks and radio frequency communications and cause extensive power outages. 
    4. A more accurate understanding of quasars will help to make satellite positioning more precise. More detailed information on what is happening during quasar flaring events will help researchers to specify the Earth's position more accurately concerning quasars. This also impacts the accuracy of satellite positioning, such that precise positioning to even within one centimetre could be possible.

    Remote space research utilises receiver networks whose observation data are combined to create "images" of space objects. In this Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) collaboration, the networking of European observatories is the best in the world. A perfect example of this collaboration is the EHT network, which published the first image of a black hole in spring of 2019. 

    As receiver technology develops, several European research stations are upgrading their technology. Metsähovi has the opportunity to participate in creating a new type of receiver network and defining its research objects and activities. Joining the network in its early stages would open up the opportunity to utilise and develop Finland's internationally renowned space research excellence at an entirely new level.  The simultaneous multi-frequency VLBI imaging of the new technology network will revolutionise the way we look at the universe.

    The new receiver

    1. is more precise: It observes in three different frequencies simultaneously. The change can be compared to the shift from a monochromatic to a trichromatic image. The  simultaneity allows the object to be viewed at different depths. 
    2. is faster: With the current technology, the receiver at the centre of the radiotelescope must be replaced when the frequency range is changed. This replacement process takes a considerable amount of time, which reduces the time for actual observations. 
    3. opens up a more extensive range of research objects: It will be possible to detect dimmer objects as well.


    Help us know more and see further than ever before

    Support the new receiver with a donation.

    Contact to donate

     Elina Karvonen

    Elina Karvonen

    Donor Engagement

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