World's largest telescope inaugurated in Chile

Thursday 14 March 2013 08.29
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The $1.3 billion ALMA observatory promises to probe deeper into space than any other telescope
The $1.3 billion ALMA observatory promises to probe deeper into space than any other telescope
The ALMA is an international partnership project between Europe, North America and East Asia, with the cooperation of Chile
The ALMA is an international partnership project between Europe, North America and East Asia, with the cooperation of Chile
Chile's President Sebastian Pinera poses with workers after the inauguration of the ALMA Observatory
Chile's President Sebastian Pinera poses with workers after the inauguration of the ALMA Observatory
The telescope is located some 1,500km north of Santiago
The telescope is located some 1,500km north of Santiago
The ALMA space observatory consists of 66 antennae creating a telescope array 16 kilometres in diameter
The ALMA space observatory consists of 66 antennae creating a telescope array 16 kilometres in diameter
It will allow astronomers to study wavelengths invisible to the human eye
It will allow astronomers to study wavelengths invisible to the human eye
Radio telescope antennas of the ALMA project, in the Chajnantor plateau, Atacama desert
Radio telescope antennas of the ALMA project, in the Chajnantor plateau, Atacama desert

The world's largest radio telescope has been inaugurated in Chile on a mountain high above the Atacama Desert, wielding unprecedented power to peer into the remotest regions of the universe.

The ALMA space observatory consists of 66 antennae creating a telescope array 16 kilometres in diameter.

ALMA, short for the Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array, an acronym which means "soul" in Spanish, is a joint effort among North American, European and Asian agencies.

Unlike optical or infrared telescopes, ALMA can capture the faint glow and gas present in the formation of the first stars, galaxies and planets in an extremely cold region of the universe.

The $1.3 billion ALMA observatory promises to probe deeper into space than any other telescope.

It will allow astronomers to study wavelengths invisible to the human eye.

ALMA's director, Thijs de Graauw said it will be able to get detailed images of space.

“We'll get detail in the images, an angular resolution that is even better than the Hubble Space Telescope is doing,” he said.