Atacama Large Millimeter Array

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About Atacama Large Millimeter Array

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The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) is an array of radio telescopes in the Atacama desert of northern Chile. Since a high and dry site is crucial to millimeter wavelength operations, the array is being constructed on the Chajnantor plateau at 5000 metres altitude. Consisting of 66 12-meter and 7-meter diameter radio telescopes observing at millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelengths, ALMA is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early universe and detailed imaging of local star and planet formation. ALMA is an international partnership between Europe, the United States, Canada, East Asia and the Republic of Chile. Costing more than a billion US dollars, it is the most expensive ground-based telescope currently under construction. ALMA began scientific observations in the second half of 2011 and the first images were released to the press on 3 October 2011. The project is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of 2012. The initial ALMA array will be composed of 66 high-precision antennas, and operate at wavelengths of 0.3 to 9.6 mm. The array will have much higher sensitivity and higher resolution than existing sub-millimeter telescopes such

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