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Observing Invisible

By: Babak A. Tafreshi

 

Region: Americas

Site: Chajnantor - Chile

Date: November 2011

The first lights of dawn merge in to starry sky over the radio telescopes of ALMA array. The Great Carina Nebula is visible in the Milky Way at the upper left and Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are notable on the right. The South Celestial Pole is near the center of the image. Located at the Chajnantor plateau, at altitude of over 5000 meters in the Chilean Andes, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is considered as one of the most complex astronomical projects of our time. By 2013 all 66 antennas of the array operate together as a single giant telescope. ALMA is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with Chile. The site rarefied atmosphere, at about 50 percent sea level pressure, is also extremely dry. That makes it ideal for ALMA which is designed to explore the universe at wavelengths over 1,000 times longer than visible light. TWAN visit to ALMA was arranged by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), one of the main partner organizations of ALMA. Babak Tafreshi/Dreamview.net

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