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Making the Ultimate Radio Telescope -The ALMA Antenna (Main Reflector- Part 1)

4 June, 2012 / Read time: 1 minute

This video documents the production of the reflector for one of the Japanese 12-meter antennas and a sub-reflector for a 7-meter antenna. These instruments were designed by Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) and provided by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). 

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has 66 antennas on the Chajnantor Plateau, Chile. These antennas must operate under extreme weather conditions in high winds at 5,000 meters above sea level. Sixteen of these antennas were provided by NAOJ, four of which had 12-meter diameters and twelve of which had 7-meter diameters. 

For ALMA to achieve the incredible feats it has accomplished to date, as well as those to come in the future, these antennas must meet strict construction specifications, such as a smooth surface that verges on perfection, components that are resistant to temperature changes, and they must be capable of very precise movements, among others. 

Watch this short documentary to see how all these technical requirements were achieved when producing the parts that make up the antennas. 

To see the second part of this documentary click here.

Credits: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)