Computer company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which built the first home computer, the Altair 8080. This was based on Intel's 8008 chip, generally considered the world's first microprocessor. The company did well for about two years, but could not keep pace with its competitors and was eventually acquired by Pertec, the company which made its disk drives.

ALTAIR is a combination VHF-UHF high power radar. The acronym stands for ARPA (Advanced Research Project Agency) Long Range Tracking and Identification Radar).

Located at Kwajalein Atoll in the western Pacific, ALTAIR is a near earth and deep space tracking radar. It has two missions, Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) testing and space surveillance. As one of the three radars composing the Space Surveillance Network, ALTAIR can track one third of the objects in the geosynchronous belt, more than 42,000 tracks per year, plus keep tabs on "foreign launches". The other two radars are the ALCOR and the TRADEX.

The MITS Altair 8800 was a do-it-yourself computer kit that many people believe sparked the PC revolution. The machine, which graced the cover of Popular Electronics in January 1975, shipped on March 26th of that year with an Intel 8080 CPU and a 256-byte RAM card at a price of $400. It took its name from Star Trek, specifically the episode "A Voyage to Altair".

The young Bill Gates and Paul Allen were among the lives that were changed by the Altair. In interviews, Gates had been quoted as saying that discovering the box at the time was a major milestone for the duo. "When we read the description of the Altair, we didn't know exactly how it would be used, but we were sure it would change us."

Unfortunately, like many cool things, Altair eventually died and the company was acquired by Pertec.

A main sequence white dwarf star, the brightest in the constellation Aquila (the Eagle). Altair is about 1.7 times the mass of Sol, and 10.8 times as luminous. Altair also has roughly twice the metallicity of Sol - it has more elements heavier than hydrogen. Dust has been detected around Altair, probably a remnant from the cloud of dust and gas that the star was formed from. If it is a remnant from the proto-stellar cloud, it indicates how young this star is. Altair is not believed to have any planets orbiting it. Altair is currently about 16.7 light years (about 158 billion km)away, but the blue shifting tells us that it is travelling toward the solar system at about 26 km/s.

Altair has a very high rotation speed - 210 km/s (131 mi/s), taking only 10.4 hours to rotate once. In comparison, Sol takes about 640 hours to rotate. In 2001 David Ciardi and Gerard van Belle (of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) discovered, via the Palomar Testbed Interferometer, that Altair’s high speed rotation has given it an orange-like shape, the equatorial diameter being 14% larger than the polar diameter (distance between the poles). At this time, only Altair is the only star that has been observed to have this feature.


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