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Perfecting the dish Surface of an ALMA Antenna

26 February, 2013 / Read time: 1 minute

This video shows the calibration and assembly process of the US antennas at the observatory’s Operations Support Facility (OSF) in northern Chile. 

The parabolic surface of each antenna should be extremely smooth, verging on perfection. Using various methods, engineers measure the curvature of the plate and then calibrate each of its panels by hand. This ensures that there are no irregularities that disturb the reflection of light when making observations of the sky. 

Given the harsh climatic conditions faced by the antennas and their required precision, periodic maintenance must be performed to ensure their correct operation.