- The Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA), a radio telescope comprising 66 antennas located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, is set to get software and hardware upgrades
About the ALMA Telescope
- ALMA is a state-of-the-art telescope that studies celestial objects at millimeter and submillimetre wavelengths.
- They can penetrate through dust clouds and help astronomers examine dim and distant galaxies and stars out there.
- It also has extraordinary sensitivity, which allows it to detect even extremely faint radio signals.
- The telescope consists of 66 high-precision antennas, spread over a distance of up to 16 km.
Why is ALMA located in Chile’s Atacama Desert?
- ALMA is situated at an altitude of 16,570 feet (5,050 meters) above sea level on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile’s Atacama Desert as the millimeter and submillimetre waves observed by it are very susceptible to atmospheric water vapour absorption on Earth.
- Moreover, the desert is the driest place in the world, meaning most of the nights here are clear of clouds and free of light-distorting moisture, making it a perfect location for examining the universe.
Notable discoveries by ALMA Telescope
- In 2013 ALMA Telescope discovered starburst galaxies
- In 2015, the telescope helped scientists observe a phenomenon known as the Einstein ring, which occurs when light from a galaxy or star passes by a massive object en route to the Earth, in extraordinary detail.
- ALMA Telescope was a part of the Event Horizon Telescope project, a large telescope array consisting of a global network of radio telescopes,
- It provided the first image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy.
- The image was unveiled by scientists in May 2022.