19 October, 2016
A new high-definition camera has been installed at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), providing a 24/7 interactive view of the telescope’s mountain home at 16,500 feet above sea level.
The new camera provides a live 360-degree view of the activities at ALMA’s “high site” throughout the year and can be used interactively to explore the site in all directions in exquisite detail. In addition to views of the array antennas, the camera also provides stunning views of the geologic wonders of the Chajnantor Plateau, including the Licancabur stratovolcano and the curious, blade-like snow formations known as penitentes, which form only in extremely high and dry conditions, like those found at ALMA.
The newly installed camera is so sensitive that it can reveal the night sky over ALMA as one would see it on site. The stunning visual capability of this new camera breaks new ground in providing live observatory views. With it, ALMA is presented in razor-sharp 4k fish-eye images, which can also be used in planetariums around the world.
The camera was provided by the France-based company Apical.
ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ.