facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

ALMA: World's largest radio telescope switches on in Chile

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   March 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM   |   Comments

March 13 (UPI) -- The Atacama Large Millimeter Array, or ALMA, perched above Chile's Atacama Desert becomes fully operational Wednesday.

ALMA consists of 66 interconnected radio telescopes -- the world's largest ground-based array and Earth's most powerful telescope. Operating through a supercomputer in extreme synchronicity, ALMA will be about 10 times more powerful than NASA's Hubble telescope.

The project is jointly funded by the United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan and Taiwan and built in collaboration with Chile. The project has been in progress for a decade, with construction starting in 2005. Before becoming fully operational, ALMA already made a range of discoveries, including a molecular building block of life around a young star.

When its full potential is reached, the telescope will be able to observe cosmic phenomena dating back to just several million years after the Big Bang, which is estimated to have occurred approximately 13.77 billion years ago.

"To me, it's just spectacular that we can look 12 billion years in time with an instrument like ALMA," Jim Ulvestad, director of the Astronomical Sciences Division at the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, said at a news conference according to Space.com.

"ALMA is a telescope that is basically 100 times more powerful than any similar millimeter telescope that's ever been built before."
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Why the fake braces trend may be dangerous for users Why the fake braces trend may be dangerous for users
2
Jared Leto 'stopped eating' for his 'Dallas Buyer's Club' role Jared Leto 'stopped eating' for his 'Dallas Buyer's Club' role
3
Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady drop $14M on Manhattan home Gisele Bundchen, Tom Brady drop $14M on Manhattan home
4
Kelly LeBrock arrested for DUI Kelly LeBrock arrested for DUI
5
Brandi Brandt faces drug charges in Australia Brandi Brandt faces drug charges in Australia
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback