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Atacama Large Millimeter Array facts for kids

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Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array
First 7-metre ALMA Antenna.jpg
The 7 metre radio telescopes at ALMA
Organisation Multi-national
Location Llano de Chajnantor Observatory
Atacama Desert, Chile
Coordinates 23°01′9.42″S 67°45′11.44″W / 23.0192833°S 67.7531778°W / -23.0192833; -67.7531778
Altitude 5,058.7 m (16597 ft)
Telescope style at least 50 identical 12 m reflectors connected by fiber-optic cables
Website Official ALMA site
Official NRAO ALMA site
Official ESO ALMA site
Official NAOJ ALMA site
This model of the ALMA array on the Chajnantor plateau shows how ALMA acts like a single telescope with a diameter as large as the distance between its individual antennas (represented by the blue circle).

The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) is an array of radio telescopes in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. A high and dry site is very important for millimeter wavelength work. ALMA is being built on the Chajnantor plateau at 5000 metres altitude. It will have 66 12-meter and 7-meter diameter radio telescopes observing at millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelengths. ALMA is expected to help scientists understand how stars were created during the early universe. It will also provide detailed imaging of local star and planet formation.

ALMA is being built by Europe, the United States, Canada, East Asia and the Republic of Chile. Costing more than a billion US dollars, it is the worlds's most expensive ground-based telescope. ALMA began scientific observations in the second half of 2011 and the first images were released to the press on 3 October 2011. The project is should be fully operational by March 2013.

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