Email Print Share
November 19, 2009

New ALMA Antennas

The first two North American antennas of the Joint ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) Observatory, undergoing acceptance testing at the mid-level site. In the foreground is an "apacheta"--a historic marker used by the original inhabitants of the region to denote routes to llama grazing areas in the Chilean altiplano. The observatory is being assembled high in the Chilean Andes.

When completed early next decade, ALMA will consist of 66 antennas that astronomers will use to study the formation of stars and planets and reveal distant galaxies in the early universe. Researchers will be able to move the antennas--each weighing about 100 tons--to different positions in order to reconfigure the ALMA telescope. This repositioning will be carried out by two custom-designed transporters, each of which is about 33 feet wide and 66 feet long, and has 28 wheels.

ALMA is a partnership between the scientific communities of East Asia, Europe and North America, with Chile. ALMA's North American partners are led by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada and the National Science Council of Taiwan. To learn more, visit the ALMA website. (Date of Image: October 2008)

Credit: Dr. Kathie L. Olsen, National Science Foundation


Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation.

Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (1.9 MB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.