Basic Astronomy

ALMA starts its early operation

World's largest array of millimeter/sub-millimeter telescopes, known as Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA), officially started its observation and made few fantastic images of the sky. It is a multi-national project and is made by many North American, East Asian, and European countries. Many exciting new science will be possible with this telescope which was just a dream even few years ago.

Credit: W. Garnier, ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

The array is located in a site in northern Chilean harsh Atacama Desert at 16,500 ft altitude. ALMA will continue its upgradation during early science observation phase.

A high speed supercomputer, known as the ALMA Correlator is made by the NRAO Technology Center in Charlottesville, specifically for the purpose of correlating signal from different ALMA telescopes. The ALMA Correlator will perform 17 quadrillion operations per second.

The array will finish its construction by 2013. When completed, it will have 66 individual radio telescopes working in millimeter/sub-millimeter wavelengths and will work together as single instrument.

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