Home > Astronomy, Observatories & Facilities > Astronomers Celebrate New Era Of Discovery With ALMA Inauguration

Astronomers Celebrate New Era Of Discovery With ALMA Inauguration

ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, was officially inaugurated today (3/13/2013) in a ceremony that brought together representatives from the international astronomical community. Today’s event marked the formal beginning of ALMA’s decades-long journey of discovery.

Able to observe the Universe by detecting light that is invisible to the human eye, ALMA will show us never-before-seen details about the birth of stars, infant galaxies in the early Universe, and planets coalescing around distant suns. It also will discover and measure the distribution of molecules — many essential for life — that form in the space between the stars.

ALMA is a single instrument composed of 66 high-precision antennas that function as one telescope. Constructed over a period of 10 years in the high desert of the Chilean Andes at a total cost of $1.3 billion (US), ALMA is an international partnership, combining the scientific, technical, and financial resources of North America, Europe, and East Asia.

The telescope already has provided unprecedented views of the cosmos with only a portion of its full array. With the last of the antennas now undergoing final testing, astronomers will have access to the most sensitive and highest-resolution instrument operating at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, the transition between infrared light and radio waves.

Full Story: http://www.nrao.edu/pr/2013/almainaug/
Also: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1312/

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