ALMA Santiago Central Office handed over

5 November, 2010

The Santiago Central Office headquarters of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) project have been officially handed over in the Vitacura district of the Chilean capital. The building was built by ESO (European Southern Observatory), the European partner of ALMA, and is adjacent to ESO’s Santiago offices. The hand over ceremony took place on 5 November 2010.

The ceremony was attended by the ALMA Director, Thijs de Graauw, and the ESO Director General, Tim de Zeeuw.

The new building has a size of almost 7000 square meters over two storeys and has more than 100 offices occupied by staff from JAO (Joint ALMA Observatory), ESO, NRAO (National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the North American partner) and NAOJ (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the East Asian partner). The building also has other facilities such as meeting rooms, an auditorium, and underground parking for 130 cars. The underground parking will allow some of the previous above-ground parking spaces to be replaced with green areas. As part of the construction, fourteen trees already on the site were moved to a new location at ESO, in a delicate operation carried out by a specialist company.

The ALMA staff, including management, administration, outreach, IT, science staff and astronomers are now settling in to their new offices. The Joint ALMA Observatory had previously rented offices at two sites in Santiago, at El Golf and Alsacia, which have now been vacated.

ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence, is a revolutionary astronomical telescope, comprising an array of 66 giant 12-meter and 7-meter diameter antennas observing at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. The facility is currently under construction on the 5000m high plateau of Chajnantor in the Chilean Andes. ALMA is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.

The new ALMA Santiago Central Office
The Santiago Central Office headquarters of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) project in the Vitacura district of the Chilean capital. The building has a size of almost 7000 square meters over two storeys. It has more than 100 offices, as well as other facilities such as meeting rooms, an auditorium, and underground parking for 130 cars. Credit: ESO & ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)