What is LAI?

The Laboratory for Astronomical Imaging (LAI) is a local research group in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. LAI is the Illinois contingent of the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA), operated jointly by California Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, and University of Maryland, with the partner Universities having guaranteed observing time. With our close ties to NCSA, we are responsible for developing new software and image analysis techniques for the CARMA consortium.

CARMA was created through the merger of Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) , Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland Association (BIMA) array, and Sunyaev-Zeldovich Array (SZA). These arrays pioneered the development of millimeter wavelength interferometry. The Owens Valley Array was built and operated by Caltech on the Owens Valley floor near Big Pine, California. It consisted of six 10.4-meter telescopes. The BIMA Array was started by University of California Berkeley with three 6.1-meter telescopes and expanded over the years to nine 6.1-meter telescopes with the addition of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Maryland as partners. The BIMA Array was located near Hat Creek in northern California. The SZA consisted of eight 3.5-meter telescopes located at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory in search for galaxy clusters using the Sunyaev-Zeldovich Effect, and has been integrated with OVRO/BIMA antennas in 2008.

At a new high-altitude site in eastern California, CARMA provides unparalleled sensitivity, broad frequency coverage, sub-arcsecond resolution and wide-field heterogeneous imaging capabilities, along with innovative technologies and educational opportunities.