Doug Lung /
Last ALMA Radio Telescope Antenna Arrives
VLA project will link 66 dishes across 16 kilometers
The final antenna necessary for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array radio telescope project has been delivered to the ALMA observatory located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The 12-meter dish was manufactured by the European AEM Consortium and is the 66th antenna delivered to the observatory.
North American interests have provided 25 12-meter antennas and East Asia backers of the project have supplied four 12-meter antennas and 12 7-meter antennas. It’s expected that by the end of this year all 66 antennas will be working together to act as a radio telescope that will stretch 16 kilometers across the Chajnantor Plateau in northern Chile.
The high elevation and extremely dry atmospheric conditions at the site will allow observation of signals at submillimeter and millimeter wavelengths that are attenuated by the atmosphere at other locations. The sensitivity of the array will allow observation of some of the coldest clouds of gas and dust where new stars are being formed and of remote galaxies towards the edge of the observable universe.
For more information see the European Southern Observatory web page ALMA – In search of our cosmic origins