Cerro Chajnantor, site of TAO

Although we have a gaggle of space telescopes floating around these days, there is still a lot of value in ground-based telescopes. These generally operate in the visible light spectrum, but infrared ground-based telescopes can also work on Earth, assuming that you put them somewhere high in an area where the atmosphere is short on infrared-radiation absorbing moisture. The newly opened Universe of Tokyo Atacama Observatory (TAO) with its 6.5 meter silver-coated primary mirror is therefore placed on the summit of Cerro Chajnantor at 5,640 meters, in the Atacama desert in Chile.

This puts it only a few kilometers away from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), but at a higher altitude by about 580 meters. As noted on the University of Tokyo project site (in Japanese), the project began in 1998, with a miniTAO 1 meter mirror version being constructed in 2009 to provide data for the 6.5 meter version. TAO features two instruments (SWIMS and MIMIZUKU), each with a specific mission profile, but both focused on deciphering the clues about the Universe’s early history, a task for which infrared is significantly more suitable due to redshift.

Source: https://hackaday.com/2024/05/06/tokyo-atacama-observatory-opens-as-worlds-highest-altitude-infrared-telescope/