Final ALMA Antenna Arrives on the Chajnantor Plateau

16 June, 2014

The final antenna for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) project has been taken up to the high-level site at the ALMA Observatory, 5000 meters above sea level. Its arrival completes the complement of 66 ALMA antennas on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile — where they will in future work together as one giant telescope.

Video. The 66th antenna was transported to the Array Operations Site (AOS) on Friday 13 June 2014 . The 12-meter diameter dish is the 25th and final European antenna to be transported up to the Chajnantor Plateau. It will work alongside its European predecessors, as well as 25 North American 12-meter antennas and 16 East Asian (four 12-meter and twelve 7-meter) antennas. This fantastic aerial footage has been captured using a hexacopter. The craft, with six sets of rotors and all of its parts installed (camera, video stabilizer, GPS, landing gear and signal transmitter), weighs a total of 2.3 kilos. Credit: Ariel Marinkovic / X-Cam

The 66th antenna was transported to the Array Operations Site (AOS) on Friday 13 June 2014. The 12-meter diameter dish is the 25th and final European antenna to be transported up to the Chajnantor Plateau. It will work alongside its European predecessors, as well as 25 North American 12-meter antennas and 16 East Asian (four 12-meter and twelve 7-meter) antennas. The global ALMA collaboration is the largest ground-based astronomical project in existence.

140616_ALMA_66_04Image 1. Credit: Ariel Marinkovic / X-Cam

The ALMA Observatory was inaugurated in March 2013 by former President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera. This signified the completion of all of the major systems of the giant telescope and the formal transition from a construction project to a fully-fledged observatory.

Image 2 & 3. Credit: Ariel Marinkovic / X-Cam

“We are very proud of having reached this important milestone for the ALMA project”, says Pierre Cox, ALMA Director. “It marks the end of the delivery of state-of-the-art technology systems to its final destination, the Chajnantor plateau”.

ALMA probes the Universe using light with millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, between infrared light and radio waves in the electromagnetic spectrum. Light at these wavelengths originates from vast cold clouds in interstellar space and from some of the earliest and most distant galaxies in the Universe. The telescope will provide astronomers with a window into the mysterious cold Universe where secrets of our cosmic origins are waiting to be discovered.

Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7. The final antenna for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) project has been taken up to the high-level site at the ALMA Observatory, 5000 meters above sea level. Its arrival completes the complement of 66 ALMA antennas on the Chajnantor Plateau in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile — where they will in future work together as one giant telescope. Credit: Ariel Marinkovic / X-Cam | Download image 4 | Download image 5 | Download image 6 | Download image 7 Image 8 & 9.High on the Chilean Andes, the ALMA Operation Support Facility –OSF, at 2900 meters altitude- has been captured in this fantastic aerial picture taken using a hexacopter. The craft used six sets of rotors to carry a camera, a video stabilizer, GPS, landing gear and a signal transmitter. Credit: Ariel Marinkovic / X-Cam | Download image 8 | Download image 9

 

More Information

Credit: Ariel Marinkovic / X-Cam

ALMA, an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of Europe by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), on behalf of North America by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and on behalf of East Asia by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

Contact:

Valeria Foncea
Education and Public Outreach Officer
Joint ALMA Observatory
Santiago, Chile
Tel: +56 2 467 6258
Cell: +56 9 75871963
Email: vfoncea@alma.cl