March 13th will mark the inauguration of the ALMA Telescope in northern Chile. And EarthSky will be covering the event live and on site.
EarthSky was recently selected to attend the inauguration of the world’s most powerful telescope as part of a small group of journalists and media representatives. Stay updated through Facebook and on our website.
ALMA – the Spanish word for soul – stands for Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub Millimeter Array. Sixty-six large radio dishes connect together to form ALMA. These dishes are located 30 minutes by car from the town of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile at an altitude of 16,500 feet, or 5,000 meters. At that height and in the desert, there is little water vapor in the air. Those conditions are perfect for ALMA because water in the air blocks starlight in the portion of the “electromagnetic spectrum” that scientists want to study. By observing our universe in the infrared spectrum, ALMA will explore the distant birthplaces of planets, stars, and galaxies centuries old – to help us understand our place in the cosmos.
Working with the host country Chile, some of the largest observatories in the world joined together to build ALMA. These include the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in North America, the European Southern Observatory, and observatories in Japan, Brazil and throughout Latin America.
We expect the new science discussed to be fascinating and photos of the event – which takes place in the high desert of the Andes mountains – to be breathtaking. Check back with EarthSky in mid-March to stay updated.
Bottom line: EarthSky was recently awarded the opportunity to cover the inauguration of ALMA, the most powerful telescope yet built.