Astrophysics Group

Cavendish Laboratory

Arcminute Microkelvin Imager

The Arcminute Microkelvin Imager or AMI, as it is more usually known, consists of two aperture synthesis radio telescopes: the AMI Large and Small Arrays. The telescopes were designed, built and are operated by the Cavendish Astrophysics Group with support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the University of Cambridge. They are sited at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, which is located at Lord’s Bridge near Cambridge.

AMI is a versatile telescope. It has been used to observe supernova remnants and anomolous microwave emission, and to carry out the deepest survey of extragalactic radio sources at high radio frequencies. AMI’s main goal, though, is to carry out observations of clusters of galaxies by looking at the Cosmic Microwave Background – the radiation left over from the Big Bang. If, as it travels across the Universe, the radiation passes through a cluster of galaxies, a distinctive imprint is left behind. AMI looks for this imprint in the Cosmic Microwave Background. Recently AMI was used to confirm the existence of a previously-unknown cluster detected by the Planck satellite.

The AMI-LA began science observations in the middle of 2008. AMI has been hunting for new galaxy clusters by carrying out a survey of several patches of the northern sky. The data from the AMI survey are now being analysed. Information about the first AMI blind cluster have recently been released – see the AMI science page to find out more.

The Small Array

The Large Array. (Photograph by kind permission of Ross Nieuwburg© 2011.)