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ALMA: An antenna array is a successful mix of apples and oranges

4 Mar 2012, 05:01 UTC
ALMA: An antenna array is a successful mix of apples and oranges
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Note: This is the second astrobite in a periodic series chronicling my adventures doing astronomy research in Chile (click here to read the first astrobite of the series). For details on ALMA (the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), check out the observatory’s website, and go here for resources with more details on ALMA science and techniques. [...]Categories: Personal experiencesTags: ALMA, Interferometry, observatories(Click to read more...)

The other day, I had the special opportunity to visit the ALMA "Array Operations Site", on the Chajnantor plateau at 5000 meters elevation. Here we saw the current state of the array, which will soon incorporate half of its eventual 66 antennas (the array is expected to be complete in 2013)! This incredible sight got me thinking about how impressive it is that all of these distinct antennas function together as a single telescope, the largest astronomical project in the world. Back at the "Operations Support Facility" at 3000 meters, I took a walk around to see the antennas that are currently being assembled and tested, and I had a closer look at the process. More photos are included at the end of this post.
Note: This is the second astrobite in a periodic series chronicling ...

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