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Wednesday
Oct052011

ALMA--the big, shiny telescope--comes online

The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) came online on Monday, doing its first science and producing its first images. Though not all of the antennas are there yet, soon(ish), there will be 66 of them glinting away in the Chilean high-altitude desert (over 16,000 feet up), where it looks like Mars and the telescope is not too impeded by the atmosphere.

The news is splattered all over the internet, and there's basically nothing that I can say that the internet hasn't said already.

However, I want to emphasize, before I throw a bunch of URLs at you, that ALMA is an insanely powerful telescope that is exploring a pocket of the electromagnetic spectrum that is pretty much uncharted. It's, like, time to discover.

Two galaxies come together to make star babies. All right.
Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF/ESO/NAOJ/NASA/ESA/B. Whitmore.
NRAO's video-based background, ALMA Explorer, which provides technological, scientific, and cultural insight into both process and product.

NRAO's first image release, which features two interacting galaxies and the star-forming regions inside them.

NRAO's press release about ALMA's first-stage completion and the early science planned with the telescope.

A mini-documentary called "ALMA Opens Its Eyes."

A flyover of the star-forming regions in the Antennae Galaxies.

NPR's "Massive Observatory Provides a Look Back," in which Dr. Alison Peck discusses what ALMA will observe.

NSF's press release, complete with a simulation of galaxies colliding.

Wired's article, "Giant Radio Telescope Sees Galactic Smash-Up," about ALMA's first image and the ability to see star formation directly.

Nicole Gugliucci's explanation/analysis of ALMA's early science.

Video interviews with Drs. Kartik Sheith, Adam Leroy, and Brad Whitmore about how "ALMA will contribute to our understanding of the universe."

Tania Burchell's podcast, "ALMA Opens Her Eyes," a part of the 365 Days of Astronomy series.

A more technology-based press release about the antennae (the ones that make the telescope, not the ones on the galaxies).

Nice job, everybody.

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