The millimeter and submillimeter antenna array (between 80 and 600 GHz) of ATACAMA called ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array) has now all its branches.
66 antennas of 115 tons each have been installed to the barren peaks of the Andes in Chile, at 5100 meters altitude, on the site of Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment telescope (APEX) for a joint research project among the U.S., Europe and Japan.
This project is now fully operational and has cost $1.3 billion.
Among the 66 antennas, 54 are 12 meters diameter and 12 are 7 meters diameter.
The objectives of the ALMA whose accuracy of observation is 10 times larger than Hubble, are:
- Studying the History of the Universe and go as far as possible in the past by observing objects extremely distant
- Understand and observe the formation of stars but also planets,
- Search exoplanets by astrometry,
- Study the solar system.
The telescope is ready to be used for a while already: Genius Tour has covered the event at this time (click here to read this article)
The inauguration is scheduled to March 13, 2013.