Winning names for antennas after popular poll
#ALMAnames

Winning names for antennas after popular poll

1 October, 2021 / Read time: 8 minutes

ALMA is celebrating 10 years since it officially opened for astronomers. ALMA Early Science started on September 30, 2011 and its first image of the Antennae Galaxies, made using only twelve antennas working together, was released on October 3, 2011.

As part of this celebration, a month before the anniversary, names suggested by the public were collected to name the 66 ALMA antennas. There were two categories: Celestial objects and words in the Atacameño Kunza language, because the observatory is installed in indigenous territory. More than 200 concepts that met this criterion arrived, which a month later were presented to a popular consultation through the ALMA website and its social networks in which the public was asked to vote for the names they like the most.

Some 6,000 people voted and these and these are the concepts chosen and the assignment of names for each antenna:

Download PDF with descriptions and meanings

Antenna Region Name Meaning
CM01 EA Sol Star that is in the center of the Solar System, with a mass composed mainly of hydrogen and helium. The energy radiated by the Sun is key to life on Earth
CM02 EA Amanogawa Our host galaxy
CM03 EA Alpha Centauri Closest star system to the Sun
CM04 EA Imai Star of the Southern Cross
CM05 EA Heike Star in the constellation of Orion
CM06 EA Murikabushi The Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, according to the name given in the Yaeyama Islands of Japan
CM07 EA Haalar Star
CM08 EA Bitchacma Travel
CM09 EA Tuckur Owl, who represents observation at night and wisdom
CM10 EA Atan Night
CM11 EA Ckepi Eye
CM12 EA Lickan Town
DA41 EU Halley Large, bright comet that orbits the Sun every 75 years on average
DA42 EU Europa Sixth natural satellite of Jupiter
DA43 EU Acrux Brightest star in the Southern Cross
DA44 EU Perseus Northern constellation representing a mythological hero. In it is the famous variable Algol (β Persei), where the Perseid meteor shower is located
DA45 EU Andromeda Closest galaxy to the Milky Way
DA46 EU Cruz del Sur Constellation of the Southern Hemisphere composed of two crossed crossbars
DA47 EU Juno One of the largest asteroids in the main asteroid belt of our Solar System. Observed by ALMA
DA48 EU Hydra The largest constellation of the 88 that exist
DA49 EU Antares The brightest star in the constellation of Scorpio
DA50 EU Cassiopeia Constellation easily recognizable by its five bright stars that form a familiar “M” or “W” pattern pointing North
DA51 EU Rigel Blue supergiant star in the constellation Orion; star system of at least four stars that appear as a single point of blue-white light to the naked eye
DA52 EU Aldebaran Brightest star in the constellation of Taurus
DA53 EU Io The Galilean satellite closest to Jupiter
DA54 EU Selti Blue
DA55 EU Puri Water
DA56 EU Semann Together
DA57 EU Ckeltchar Truth
DA58 EU Lalackama Aurora
DA59 EU Lalchtchir Lights
DA60 EU Laipintur To look
DA61 EU Haabu Breath (ALMA can capture the breath of the stars)
DA62 EU Ckoi Voice (In the sense of hearing the voice from space)
DA63 EU Muckar Dead, because life and death of planets and stars coexist
DA64 EU Kala Yellow, the color of the Sun here on Earth
DA65 EU Ckoitchi Rainbow
DV01 NA Nubes de Magallanes Two galaxies visible from the Southern Hemisphere
DV02 NA Sirius The brightest star in the entire night sky as seen from earth, located in the Southern Constellation Canis Maior
DV03 NA Orion It is a constellation visible throughout the world and one of the most recognizable constellations in the night sky
DV04 NA Pluto ALMA measured Pluto’s location and orbit around the Sun with great precision in order to help NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reach its goal before approaching that dwarf planet in 2015
DV05 NA Luna The only natural satellite of the Earth and the fifth largest in the Solar System
DV06 NA Mimosa It is the second brightest star in the constellation of the Southern Cross
DV07 NA Titan The largest of Saturn’s satellites and the second largest in the Solar System after Ganymede. Also, the only known satellite to have a significant atmosphere, and the only object, apart from Earth, in which clear evidence of stable liquid bodies on the surface has been found
DV08 NA Vega Main star of the constellation of Lyra, widely studied and classified as the most important star after the Sun
DV09 NA Proxima Centauri The nearest-known star to the Sun
DV10 NA Venus Second planet in the Solar System in order of proximity to the Sun. It lacks natural satellites and receives its name in honor of the Roman goddess of love
DV11 NA Lyra Constellation easily identifiable by its star Vega
DV12 NA Jupiter It is the largest (gaseous) planet in the Solar System and the fifth in order of distance from the Sun
DV13 NA Ttulti Night
DV14 NA Mitchi Feline (cougar-cat)
DV15 NA Ckaickai Ear, because the antennas listen to the Universe
DV16 NA Hicka Signal
DV17 NA Ckontor Condor, national symbol of the Andean countries
DV18 NA Pattahoyri Mother Earth
DV19 NA Ckapin Sun
DV20 NA Ack’cka’ya I am, is the essence of everything that exists, and what is yet to be discovered, but still exists
DV21 NA Sairi Rain
DV22 NA Taipu Tomorrow
DV23 NA Tturi House
DV24 NA Hai’may’tier To learn, to know or to understand
DV25 NA Tchitack Heart (ALMA looks into the heart of the Universe)
PM01 EA Ckamur Moon
PM02 EA Ckausama Life
PM03 EA Orochi Very bright and rare galaxy since it is forming new stars at a rate of more than 1000 stars per year
PM04 EA Karasukiboshi It is the alignment of the three bright stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka, together with nearby three fainter objects including the Orion Nebula

 

#ALMAnames Poll Winners

ALMA Antennas

If you take a close look at photos of ALMA, you will see that there are three different types of antennas. 25 antennas were built by the North American partners. European partners built 25 antennas. And 16 antennas (four big and twelve smaller ones) were built by the East Asian partners. So everyone helped to build ALMA.

In total, ALMA has 66 antennas: fifty-four 12-meter diameter antennas and twelve 7-meter diameter antennas. The radio telescope combines signals from each, working as an interferometer, in other words, a single giant telescope equal in size to the total array.

With perfect parabolic shapes and a precision equivalent to within a fraction of the thickness of a human hair, this is one of the most precise antennas in the world.

Unlike a telescope that is built in place and remains there, these antennas are solid enough to be moved between different pads without damaging their high-precision mechanisms. They are moved with transporter trucks that have been designed especially for these antennas and are able to reposition them to adapt to the required observation needs.

They do not need a dome or cupola to protect them. Although their reflectors are exposed to extreme conditions at an altitude of 5,000 meters above sea level in the Chajnantor Plateau, facing gusty winds and temperatures that vary from 20 to -20 degrees Celsius, and even snow, the antennas are designed to withstand these conditions.

History

In 2009, the first completed antenna was transported from the ALMA camp or Operations Support Facility (OSF) to the Chajnantor Plateau or ALMA Operations Site (AOS), at 5,000 meters above sea level.

September 17, 2009: An ALMA antenna en route from the Operations Support Facility to the plateau of Chajnantor for the first time. The ALMA transporter vehicle carefully carries the state-of-the-art antenna, with a diameter of 12 meters and a weight of about 100 tons, on the 28 km journey to the Array Operations Site, which is at an altitude of 5000 m. The antenna is designed to withstand the harsh conditions at the high site, where the extremely dry and rarefied air is ideal for ALMA’s observations of the universe at millimeter- and submillimeter-wavelengths. © Ralph Bennett - ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)
September 17, 2009: An ALMA antenna en route from the Operations Support Facility to the plateau of Chajnantor for the first time. The ALMA transporter vehicle carefully carries the state-of-the-art antenna, with a diameter of 12 meters and a weight of about 100 tons, on the 28 km journey to the Array Operations Site, which is at an altitude of 5000 m. The antenna is designed to withstand the harsh conditions at the high site, where the extremely dry and rarefied air is ideal for ALMA’s observations of the universe at millimeter- and submillimeter-wavelengths. © Ralph Bennett – ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

ALMA, A WORLDWIDE COLLABORATION

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) -the largest astronomical project in existence- is a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor Plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile. ALMA is an international partnership of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, together with NRC (Canada), MOST and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.

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