New ALMA animated series: #WAWUA – Why Astronomers Want to Use ALMA?

7 September, 2017

The ALMA astronomical observatory launched a new series of short animations to explain Why Astronomers Want to Use ALMA or #WAWUA. The series consists of 5 episodes, each two minutes long, which will be released weekly on the ALMA website and social networks, as well as those of its partners in Europe, East Asia, and North America.

These videos provide a simple, hands-on explanation of the technology and science behind ALMA. With original, colorful drawings, these short videos delve into seemingly difficult concepts such as interferometry, astrochemistry, electromagnetic spectrum, cold Universe, stardust, complex molecules, and wavelength.

Episode I

#WAWUA E01T01 – ALMA Observes the Invisible

Episode II

#WAWUA E01T02 – ALMA is State of the Art Technology

Episode III

#WAWUA E01T03 – We are Stardust!

Episode IV

#WAWUA E01T04 – ALMA is a timemachine!

Episode V

#WAWUA E01T05 – ALMA and the Cold Interstellar Clouds

This new radio telescope outreach project was developed thanks to María Corrêa-Mendes, who joined the ALMA Education and Public Outreach Department as an intern last year from Portugal as part of her master’s program in scientific outreach at Universidad Nova in Lisbon. Her excellent creative and drawing skills motivated the rest of the team to make a series of animated videos to explain specific topics related to the observatory and radio astronomy.

With the support of the rest of the team, five topics were selected to respond to the question in the series title: Why astronomers want to use ALMA. Each chapter develops a topic such as invisible electromagnetic spectrum range, resolution and sensitivity, detection of complex molecules, far-away galaxies and cold dust clouds.

The first episode is already online for the public to enjoy and share, thereby expanding the reach and understanding of astronomy. The next four episodes will be released once a week on Thursdays, all of them will be free to use, distribute, download and modify under license Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

The ALMA team is already at work preparing for season two of #WAWUA in 2018. Don’t miss it!

These storyboards were part of the creation process of the series. Credit: María Corrêa-Mendes - ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

These storyboards were part of the creation process of the series. Credit: María Corrêa-Mendes – ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

Members of the ALMA Education and Public Outreach team that took part in the creation of the WAWUA animated series. From left to right: María Corrêa-Mendes (Intern, Science Communication), José Pinto (Graphic Designer), Nicolás Lira (EPO Coordinator, Journalist), and Valeria Foncea (EPO Manager, Journalist).

Members of the ALMA Education and Public Outreach team that took part in the creation of the WAWUA animated series. From left to right: María Corrêa-Mendes (Intern, Science Communication), José Pinto (Graphic Designer), Nicolás Lira (EPO Coordinator, Journalist), and Valeria Foncea (EPO Manager, Journalist).