Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grade A -- ALMA Comes Online (Colliding Galaxies)

The ALMA radio telescope has taken its first photograph of the Antennae Galaxies from the observatory in Chile

          This is the remarkable first picture taken by the new $1.3 billion radio telescope sitting high in the Chilean Andes. 

             It shows two galaxies colliding in a view no other telescope on Earth or in space could capture.

           The shot is a teasing glimpse of the capabilities of the Atacama Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope - this picture has been taken using only a quarter of the antennae it will have when it comes into full operation in 2013.

          But even now, this shot of the Antennae Galaxies is astonishing - showing off the telescope's exceptional power at detecting 'cold' matter using radio waves. The combined image shown would not be visible at all to visible-light and infrared telescopes.

          The radio telescope is the most expensive ground-based telescope ever built - and the highest-altitude, at 16,000ft. Chile's Atacama desert was chosen as its location for its dryness and clarity.

          As more of ALMA's antennae come online, its images will get sharper.
          ALMA is an international partnership project of Europe, North America and East Asia, with the cooperation of Chile, and is presently the largest astronomical project in the world.

FROM:  The Daily Mail, 10-4-11


  1. love this stuff. lewis

  2. I know, it's great. There are some remarkable photos of the ALMA facility available online -- dramatic night pictures. I'll try to find them and send them to you. I used to use one as my screensaver. Curtis