ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) is a radio telescope inaugurated in 2013. It also delayed the cycle 8 proposal submission deadline and suspended public visits to the site.. Opening of Joint ALMA office, Santiago, Chile. Taiwan joins the ALMA Project through Japan. , In March 2020, ALMA was shut down due to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. As no known non-biological source of phosphine on Venus could produce phosphine in the concentrations detected, this indicated the presence of biological organisms in the atmosphere of Venus.  These early images give a first glimpse of the potential of the new array that will produce much better quality images in the future as the scale of the array continues to increase. It was this period that the scientists in the ALPINE project focused on when they used ESO's ALMA telescope to carry out the first ever large survey of distant galaxies. Two peacock-shaped gaseous clouds were revealed in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) by observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The first vehicle was completed and tested in July 2007. 9:00-9:25 Tomoko Suzuki Gas contents in star-forming galaxies around Cosmic High Noon. The movie ALMA — In Search of our Cosmic Origins This 16-minute video presents the history of ALMA from the origins of the project several decades ago to the recent first science results. The target of the observation was a pair of colliding galaxies with dramatically distorted shapes, known as the Antennae Galaxies. A talk on the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), by Leonardo Testi. By combining 54 parabolic antennas with 12 meter diameters and 12 parabolic antennas with diameters of 7 meters, ALMA creates one huge radio telescope consisting of 66 antennas in total. Start of Early Science Cycle 1. Final European / North American agreement, with 50% of funding from ESO, and 50% of funding shared between USA and Canada. ESOcast 51: Video report about the ALMA correlator. 9:25-9:50 Tom Bakx The dust-obscured early Universe as probed by ALMA. At the end of 2009, a team of ALMA astronomers and engineers successfully linked three antennas at the 5,000-metre (16,000 ft) elevation observing site thus finishing the first stage of assembly and integration of the fledgling array. ALMA is an international partnership among Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Chile. Using the ALMA radio telescope in Chile, astronomers were able to capture the formation of a new planet, and scientists are observing it happen …  Both transporters were delivered to the ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF) in Chile on 15 February 2008. In 1609 an Italian physicist and astronomer named Galileo became the first person to point a telescope skyward. ALMA images of two molecular clouds. The antennas can be moved across the desert plateau over distances from 150 m to 16 km, which will give ALMA a powerful variable "zoom", similar in its concept to that employed at the centimetre-wavelength Very Large Array (VLA) site in New Mexico, United States. Costing $1.4 billion, ALMA is the world’s most expensive ground based telescope. This was the number of antennas specified for ALMA to begin its first science observations, and was therefore an important milestone for the project. Three prototype antennas have undergone evaluation at the Very Large Array since 2002. ALMA images of two molecular clouds. ALMA is being built by Europe, the United States, Canada, East Asia and the Republic of Chile. At that size, ALMA can pinpoint small, hidden details deep inside galaxies or within giant star forming regions, making it one of the most powerful telescopes … The blue part in right panel shows the emissions from dust particles obtained with ALMA. However, two decades prior to this, the global scientific community had already identified the need for a radiotelescope with the characteristics of ALMA. A view across the plains of Chajnantor with the ALMA construction site at the center. Linking three antennas allows corrections of errors that can arise when only two antennas are used, thus paving the way for precise, high-resolution imaging. Featured Videos Related A Hundred Million Stars in 3 Minutes ... History. ALMA was initially a 50-50 collaboration between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and European Southern Observatory (ESO) and later extended with the help of the other Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chilean partners. ALMA Telescope. European, North American & Japanese draft agreement, with Japan providing new extensions to ALMA.  The solution chosen is to use two custom 28-wheel self-loading heavy haulers. Thirty-two 12-m antennas in the 12-m array. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 6, 2003 and the ALMA logo was unveiled.. Telescope History.  ALMA is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early Stelliferous era and detailed imaging of local star and planet formation. Illustrated by dramatic helicopter footage, the movie takes you on a journey to the 5000-metre-high Chajnantor Plateau, where ALMA stands, in the unique environment of the Atacama Desert of Chile.  (However, various space astronomy projects including Hubble Space Telescope, JWST, and several major planet probes have cost considerably more). But before ALMA could join the Event Horizon Telescope network, it first had to transform into a different kind of instrument known as a phased array. ("Alma" means "soul" in Spanish and "learned" or "knowledgeable" in Arabic.) Galileo's ink renderings of the moon: the first telescopic observations of a celestial object. The ALMA regional centre (ARC) has been designed as an interface between user communities of the major contributors of the ALMA project and the JAO. Transporting the 115 tonne antennas from the Operations Support Facility at 2900 m altitude to the site at 5000 m, First antenna movement with a transporter. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/Fukui et al./Tokuda et al./NASA-ESA Hubble Space Telescope Astronomers know that stars are formed in collapsing clouds in space. It is composed of 66 antennas, each several metres in diameter, and works in synergy as a single giant telescope thanks to the interferometry technique.  The array has much higher sensitivity and higher resolution than earlier submillimeter telescopes such as the single-dish James Clerk Maxwell Telescope or existing interferometer networks such as the Submillimeter Array or the Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimétrique (IRAM) Plateau de Bure facility. History. One theory suggests that the faster accretion rate might be due to the complex magnetic field of the protoplanetary disk. ESO/NRAO/NAOJ joint site testing with Chile. By using smaller antennas than the main ALMA array, larger fields of view can be imaged at a given frequency using ACA. Moonrise above the 12 meter wide access road to the ALMA High Site. or moving antennas around the site to change the array size, presents enormous challenges; as portrayed in the television documentary Monster Moves: Mountain Mission. First interferometry with two antennas at the Operations Support Facility (OSF). The most powerful radio telescope opens its eyes and shows us the universe as we've never seen. Phase closure with three antennas at Chajnantor. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA. Activates for operating the ARC have also divided into the three main regions involved (Europe, North America and East Asia). The components designed and manufactured across Europe were transported by specialist aerospace and astrospace logistics company Route To Space Alliance, 26 in total which were delivered to Antwerp for onward shipment to Chile. The American and European partners each provided twenty-five 12-meter diameter antennas, that compose the main array. Featured Videos Related A Hundred Million ... History. This video shows ISS astronauts congratulating the ALMA Partners on the occasion of its inauguration. History. Share Tweet. 「生命の材料は、地球以外の場所にも存在しているのだろうか？」, 人類が長年抱いてきたこんな疑問に挑む最前線が、アルマ望遠鏡です。南米チリの標高5,000mの高地に建設され、2011年に科学観測を開始したこの巨大望遠鏡。これを使えば、星や惑星の材料となる塵やガス、生命の材料になるかもしれない物質が放つかすかな電波を、「視力6000」に相当する圧倒的な性能でとらえることができます。惑星誕生のメカニズムや地球外生命の可能性を明らかにし、私たちのルーツを宇宙にたどること。これが、日本を含む22の国と地域が協力して運用するアルマ望遠鏡の使命です。ここでは、アルマ望遠鏡が挑む壮大な宇宙の謎と、その解明を目指す取り組みについて紹介します。, アルマ望遠鏡は、130億光年以上も遠くにある天体が放った電波をとらえ、撮影することに成功しています。130億光年離れた天体が放った光や電波は、130億年の時間をかけて地球に届くので、私たちが観測したのは、その天体の130億年前の姿なのです。宇宙で「遠くを見ること」は「昔を見ること」と同じです。先のアルマ望遠鏡の観測からは、130億年以上前の天体付近にも、すでに酸素や塵が多く存在していたことがわかりました。, 宇宙は、いまから138億年前にビッグバンで誕生したと考えられています。では、最初の銀河はいつごろどんな大きさで生まれ、進化したのでしょうか？ そして私たちの太陽系がある天の川銀河はどのように生まれたのでしょうか？宇宙の進化に大きな影響を与えたと考えられる、爆発的星形成銀河（120億年前に発生したとされる、天の川銀河の数百倍の勢いで恒星を生みだす銀河）といった謎に満ちた天体にも、アルマ望遠鏡は迫りつつあります。視力6000に相当する圧倒的な性能を駆使して、銀河の誕生と進化の謎を明らかにし、歴史を紐解いていくことも、アルマ望遠鏡の大きな目標なのです。, 宇宙の歴史の模式図。138億年前のビッグバンで始まった宇宙が膨張を続け、その中で星や銀河が生まれ、進化してきた様子を表現しています。, Credit：B.Saxton（NRAO / AUI / NSF）; ALMA （ESO / NAOJ / NRAO）; NASA / ESA Hubble, 夜空に輝く星たちのほとんどは「恒星」といって、太陽と同じように自らエネルギーを作りだして発光しています。宇宙全体にはおそらく1,000億個のさらに数千億倍もの恒星があると言われています。これまで、望遠鏡で数多くの恒星の研究が行われてきました。そして近年、天文学の進歩によって、私たちが住む太陽系と同じように、夜空に輝く恒星のまわりにも数多くの惑星が存在していることが明らかになってきました。, では、それらの惑星が誕生する様子はどんなものだったのでしょうか？「第2の地球」と呼べるような惑星は、どんな場所に、どんなプロセスでできるのでしょうか？アルマ望遠鏡は、惑星の材料になる小さな塵（ちり）やガスを観測することができます。塵やガスが集まっていく様子を詳しく観測することで、惑星が作られていく姿を描き出すことができるのです。アルマ望遠鏡の活躍により、天文学者たちは、惑星誕生の現場をこれまでになく鮮明に写し出すことに成功しています。アルマ望遠鏡は、惑星誕生のシナリオを構築し、惑星の多様性の起源を明らかにするという究極の目標に向かって、今日も観測を続けています。, Credit: S. Andrews（Harvard-Smithsonian CfA）, ALMA（ESO / NAOJ / NRAO）, Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/L. Dec 11, 2012. memorandum of understanding for design & development. The final antenna for the project is here seen arriving to the high site at the observatory, 5000 meters above sea level. Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), along with other telescopes, have discovered the most distant quasar yet found. Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), radio telescope system located on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama Desert at an altitude of 5,000 metres (16,500 feet). 66th and final antenna arrived and accepted. Alma - the most complex ground-based telescope in existence - is officially opened during an inauguration ceremony in Chile's Atacama Desert. The project began when Europe, North America and Eastern Asia each worked in isolation to propose a telescope that would receive light in millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths in large magnitudes. The most powerful radio telescope opens its eyes and shows us the universe as we've never seen. Galileo's ink renderings of the moon: the first telescopic observations of a celestial object. Alma is one of several giant telescopes being built in Chile's Atacama Desert, which boasts some of the clearest and driest skies in the world.  Costing about US$1.4 billion, it is the most expensive ground-based telescope in operation. Calçada (ESO), アルマ望遠鏡が観測するミリ波・サブミリ波は、地球の大気に含まれる水蒸気によって激しく吸収されてしまうため、空気が薄く乾燥した高地に建設する必要がありました。また、複数の電波望遠鏡を協働させる干渉計の技術を活用するためには、たくさんのアンテナを設置するための広い平坦な場所が必要です。野心的なアルマ望遠鏡を設置するにふさわしい「観測最適地」を求めて、天文学者は世界中の高地を調査しました。, その答えとして見出されたのが、南米チリ北部、アタカマ砂漠の標高5,000mの高原です。アタカマ砂漠は年間降水量が100mm以下で、世界でもっとも乾燥した場所のひとつといわれています。日本からアルマ望遠鏡施設までは、飛行機の乗り継ぎ時間を含めると40時間ほどかかりますが、アルマ望遠鏡設置に理想的な条件を備えた、地球上で究極の場所といえます。, アルマ望遠鏡のような巨大プロジェクトは、一国だけで開発・運用できるものではありません。世界中の国々が手を取りあい、人と技術と資金を出しあうことでアルマ望遠鏡は生まれました。, 一般的に学術研究は熾烈な国際競争の場でもありますが、同時に研究者が国々を自由に行き来したり、国際協力が当たり前のように行われたりもする平和な分野でもあります。1980年代から1990年代にかけて、日米欧のそれぞれが独自の巨大電波望遠鏡を計画していました。これらの状況は国際会議でお互いに共有されていたため、お互いの良いところを取り入れていくにつれて、計画はどれも似たものになっていきました。そして、「それぞれの計画を合体させ、1つの国や地域では実現できない理想の望遠鏡を作ってはどうか」という構想が日米欧の研究者たちのなかから生まれたのです。アルマ望遠鏡計画の誕生です。, 現在のアルマ望遠鏡の運用は、日本・台湾・韓国の東アジア、アメリカとカナダからなる北米、欧州南天天文台を構成する16か国と建設地のチリ共和国の協力で行われています。日本の国立天文台のスタッフ十数名も現地に赴任し、世界中から集まってきた研究者や技術者・事務職員と協力してアルマ望遠鏡の運用にあたっています。また日本・アメリカ・ドイツに設置されたアルマ地域支援センターでは、それぞれ東アジア・北米・欧州地域にいる天文学者がアルマ望遠鏡で研究を行うためのサポートを担当しています。, 国際協力で生まれたアルマ望遠鏡プロジェクトのなかで、日本は全体のおよそ4分の1の貢献をしています。パラボラアンテナは66台のうちの16台、電波をとらえる受信機は10種類のうち3種類を日本が開発しました。日本製の16台のアンテナで集められた信号を処理するためのスーパーコンピューターも、日本が開発したものです。アルマ望遠鏡には、日本の最先端技術が惜しみなく投入されているのです。, パラボラアンテナは、はるかかなたの天体からやってくる電波が最初に触れる人工物です。微弱な電波をもれなく集めるため、アンテナの表面はできるだけ滑らかにしておく必要があります。アルマ望遠鏡では、その誤差を人間の髪の毛の太さの約3分の1、25ミクロン以下という高い精度で実現しました。, パラボラアンテナには、観測対象の天体を高い精度で追尾できる性能が求められます。アタカマ砂漠の強い日射や昼夜の大きな温度差、強い風など、厳しい自然環境のもとでこれを実現するのは簡単なことではありませんでした。, 日本製のアンテナには、アンテナ自身の微妙なゆがみを自ら計測してリアルタイムで補正する最先端の技術をはじめ、さまざまな工夫が凝らされています。, アンテナで集められた電波をコンピューターで処理するための電気信号に変換するのが、受信機です。アルマ望遠鏡では、観測した電波を10の周波数帯（バンド）に分けて電気信号に変換するため、それぞれに最適な設計で受信機を開発しました。受信する波長が短くなるほど精度の要求も高くなります。, 日本は、超伝導技術や精密機械加工技術など、最先端技術の粋を集め、もっとも波長の短いバンド10受信機を含む3種類の受信機を開発し、全66台のアンテナに搭載される受信機を量産しました。, たくさんのアンテナからやってくる電気信号を処理するのが、「相関器」と呼ばれるスーパーコンピューターです。, 日本が開発した相関器は、日本製の16台のアンテナから届けられる膨大なデータを即座に処理する必要があります。そのデータ処理能力は、1秒間に256ギガバイト。DVD54枚（片面一層）のデータを毎秒処理することが可能です。, アルマ望遠鏡を構成する66台のアンテナのなかで、日本が開発した16台のアンテナ群と受信機、相関器からなるシステムを、「アタカマコンパクトアレイ（愛称：モリタアレイ）」と呼びます。たくさんのアンテナを連動させて、巨大な1つの望遠鏡とする「干渉計」方式の電波望遠鏡では、アンテナの間隔を広げれば広げるほど解像度が上がりますが、逆に視野は狭くなります。逆に、大きく広がった天体を広い視野で観測するためには、アンテナの間隔を小さくする必要があります。モリタアレイは、口径の小さなアンテナを狭い範囲にまとめることで、それを実現しました。, つまりアルマ望遠鏡を使う天文学者たちは、広い範囲に展開される米欧のアンテナ群と、モリタアレイの両方を組み合わせて観測することで、広がった天体のなかの細かい構造まではっきりと描き出すことができるのです。なおモリタアレイの名は、その設計に大きな貢献を残した、故・森田耕一郎 国立天文台教授にちなんでつけられたものです。アルマ望遠鏡が世界の天文学研究を今後もリードし続けるために、パワーアップのための将来開発計画も検討されています。日本の高い技術力をアルマ望遠鏡に投入することで、これからも天文学の発展に貢献していきます。, Credit：ALMA（ESO / NAOJ / NRAO）/ L. Calçada, アリゾナ大学のフェイジ・ワン氏らの国際研究チームは、観測史上最も遠くに位置するクエーサーを発見しました。このクエーサー…, イギリス・ダーラム大学/フランス原子力・代替エネルギー庁（CEA）のアナガラジア・プグリシ（Annagrazia Puglisi）氏らの研究…, チリでは、2019年に引き続き、2020年12月14にも皆既日食を観察できる機会が巡ってきました。この天文学の一大イベントに乗って…, © 2005 - 2017 National AstronomicalObservatory of Japan, © 2005 - 2017 National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.  After 17 days an agreement was reached providing for reduced schedules and higher pay for work done at high altitude. Watch more with these video collections: Astronomy Atacama Desert Chile data desert galaxies history light measurement night observatory planets radio telescope science scientist sky south america space stars technology telescope time time lapse universe Women in STEM. The ALMA radio telescope array captures a ring of fire – the light from a remote, well-formed galaxy more than 12 billion light years away that was gravitationally magnified as it was bent around an intervening galaxy. Go inside the U. S. insurrection with a National Geographic photographer. During Autumn 2009, the first three antennas were transported one-by-one to the Array Operations Site. The vehicles were made by Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik [de] in Germany and are 10 m wide, 20 m long and 6 m high, weighing 130 tonnes. ALMA is funded in Europe by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), in North America by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and in East Asia by the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan (NINS) in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan. This location was chosen for its high elevation and low humidity, factors which are crucial to reduce noise and decrease signal attenuation due to Earth's atmosphere. Placing the antennas closer together enables the imaging of sources of larger angular extent. ALMA …  Its current director since February 2018 is Sean Dougherty.. Once completed there will be 66 antennas trained at the sky, working in tandem with one another to observe the cosmos, the largest and most expensive ground-based telescope in history. The work stoppage began after the observatory failed to reach an agreement with the workers' union. Time-lapse video at the ALMA Array Operations Site (AOS). (in HD).  ALMA began scientific observations in the second half of 2011 and the first images were released to the press on 3 October 2011. The ALMA observatory itself is split into two facilities: at 3200 metres, the Operations Support Facility (OSF) which contains the administrative offices, maintenance facilities, and living quarters for the scientists who work on ALMA. The participating East Asian countries are contributing 16 antennas (four 12-meter diameter and twelve 7-meter diameter antennas) in the form of the Atacama Compact Array (ACA), which is part of the enhanced ALMA. This video shows the antenna being moved on the giant transporter called "Otto". Arrival of the two ALMA transporters in Chile. On 30 September 2013 the final ALMA antenna was handed over to the ALMA Observatory. In 2013, the Atacama Compact Array was named the Morita Array after Professor Koh-ichiro Morita, a member of the Japanese ALMA team and designer of the ACA, who died on 7 May 2012 in Santiago. The blue part in right panel shows the emissions from dust particles obtained with ALMA. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an astronomical interferometer of 66 radio telescopes in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, which observe electromagnetic radiation at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. 66 radio telescopes in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, Location of Atacama Large Millimeter Array, The first two ALMA antennas linked together as an, Three ALMA antennas linked together as an interferometer for the first time, ALMA prototype-antennas at the ALMA test facility, July 2008 NRAO ALMA newsletter article by Dr. Al Wootten, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Japan, Institut de Radio Astronomie Millimétrique, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, After a Tough Year, ALMA's Star Begins to Rise at Last, removing excessive or indiscriminate images, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Atacama Submillimeter Telescope Experiment, "Alma telescope peers into space from Chile's mountains", "ALMA Inauguration Heralds New Era of Discovery", "At the End of the Earth, Seeking Clues to the Universe", "Alma telescope: Ribbon cut on astronomical giant", "ALMA - Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array", "Ground breaking ceremony for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA)", "National Radio Astronomy Observatory - Legacy Content - ALMA (CV)", Chile's ALMA probes for origins of universe, "General Dynamics Receives $169 Million to Build 12-Meter Antennas for Advanced Radio Telescope", https://www.almaobservatory.org/en/announcement/result-of-the-initial-testing-of-the-japanese-aca-12-m-antenna-to-be-delivered-to-alma-2/, https://www.almaobservatory.org/en/press-release/alma-observatory-equipped-with-its-first-antenna/, "Monster Moves, Season 5, Episode 6: Mountain Mission", "European ALMA antenna brings total on Chajnantor to 16", "Birth of Planets Revealed in Astonishing Detail in ALMA's 'Best Image Ever' - NRAO: Revealing the Hidden Universe", "RELEASE 14-038 - NASA's 3-D Study of Comets Reveals Chemical Factory at Work", "Event Horizon Telescope Captures First Image of Black Hole | Astronomy | Sci-News.com", "Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus", "Scientists find gas linked to life in atmosphere of Venus", "First Light for Band 5 at ALMA - New receivers improve ALMA's ability to search for water in the Universe", Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, ALMA Observatory: ALMA Selects New Director, "New 2012 ALMA Video Compilation Released", "ALMA Compact Array Completed and Named After Japanese Astronomer", "Workers at Earth's largest radio telescope in Chile strike over pay, working conditions", "Workers strike at world's largest radio telescope", "ALMA resumes operations after end of workers' strike", "COVID-19 (coronavirus) Measures at ALMA", "ALMA Residencia Handed Over - New accommodation for staff and visitors at ALMA site in Chile", How the Huge ALMA Radio Telescope Works (Infographic), An optical system design for the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy, Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network, Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Science, Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Atacama_Large_Millimeter_Array&oldid=996886963, Articles with infoboxes completely from Wikidata, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2014, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Atacama Large Millimeter and Submillimeter Array. This was mainly for political reasons. This is one of the first strikes to affect an astronomical observatory. Two Cosmic Peacocks show Violent History of the Magellanic Clouds. Working together, the separate ALMA telescopes become one giant telescope up to 11 miles (16 km) across. ALMA: New telescope can detect hidden gases that might hold the key to star and planetary formation. Go inside the U. S. insurrection with a National Geographic photographer. , In August 2013, workers at the telescope went on strike to demand better pay and working conditions. The antennas forming the Atacama Compact Array, four 12-meter antennas and twelve 7-meter antennas, were produced and delivered by Japan. First move of an ALMA antenna to Chajnantor. The merged array combined the sensitivity of the LSA with the frequency coverage and superior site of the MMA. The 12-meter-diameter dish was manufactured by the European AEM Consortium and also marks the successful delivery of a total of 25 European antennas — the largest ESO contract so far. 01:32. General Dynamics C4 Systems and its SATCOM Technologies division was contracted by Associated Universities, Inc. to provide twenty-five of the 12 m antennas, while European manufacturer Thales Alenia Space provided the other twenty-five principal antennas (in the largest-ever European industrial contract in ground-based astronomy). The first step toward the creation of what would become ALMA came in 1997, when the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) agreed to pursue a common project that merged the MMA and LSA. On 28 July 2011, the first European antenna for ALMA arrived at the Chajnantor plateau, 5,000 meters above sea level, to join 15 antennas already in place from the other international partners. The transporters, which feature a driver's seat designed to accommodate an oxygen tank to aid breathing the thin high-altitude air, place the antennas precisely on the pads. The high sensitivity is mainly achieved through the large numbers of antenna dishes that will make up the array. , The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA Telescope. ALMA began scientific observations in the second half of 2011 and the first images were released to … ALMA uses a system called an “interferometer” that arrays many small antennas across a wide area and links them together to operate as one huge telescope. The array has been constructed on the 5,000 m (16,000 ft) elevation Chajnantor plateau - near the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory and the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment.  The Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile is a 27-foot (8.2-meter) interferometer. On March 13, 2013, the ALMA Telescope in northern Chile officially went online. By the summer of 2011, sufficient telescopes were operational during the extensive program of testing prior to the Early Science phase for the first images to be captured. ALMA is inaugurated after nearly three decades of planning, engineering and construction. Share the excitement of the inauguration ceremony and contemplate the breathtaking images from ALMA itself and views of its unique environment in the Atacama Desert. A slideshow traces the potted history of the telescope, from Galileo to ALMA Japan constructed 16 Antennas. The ALMA radio telescope. 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