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Special Astrophysical Observatory of Russian Academy of Sceinces (SAO RAS)

SAO RAS is in the west of the North Caucasus, in Karachai-Cherkessian Republic. Its optical telescopes the Europe's largest telescope of the mirror diameter 6 m BTA (Big Telescope Azimuthal) Medium-Size telescope of the mirror diameter 1 m (Zeiss-1000) and the small telescope of the mirror diameter 0.6 m (Zeiss-600) are at the altitude 2100 m above sea level 17 km away from the settlement Nizhnij Arkhyz. Another observational instrument RATAN-600 is 25 km away from Nizhnij Arkhyz at the southern outskirts of Zelenchukskaya. This is a radio telescope with a variable-profile antenna 600 m in diameter.

Nizhnij Arkhyz

SAO staff members live in the settlement Nizhnij Arkhyz at a distance of 25 km to the southward of stanitsa Zelenchukskaya. The settlement is in the beech forest in the Bolshoi Zelenchuk river valley at 1300 m above sea level. At 2 km from the settlement there is the Nizhny-Arkhyz archaeological, historical and architectural reserve including the site of ancient medieval alan settlement and the Christian temples of the 10th century - the earliest orthodox temples on the territory of the Russian Federation. 25 km up to the Bolshoi Zelenchuk vally there is one of the Caucasus centers of mountain tourism and climbing Arkhyz.

The climat

The climat is relatively mild. Usually, September is the best season in mountains. As a rule, the weather is warm and dry. In daytime the temperature is +22-25C. The diagram of thermal variations in Nizhnij Arkhys can be seen here. It is better to inquire about weather forecast for Zelenchukskaya or Karachaevsk. .