Largest Telescope in History of Time Goes Live

Hevva

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Aug 2, 2011
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Largest Telescope in History of Time Goes Live



It's big, it's beautiful, and it's called ALMA.

Telescopes, generally speaking, are amazing pieces of machinery. And the bigger a telescope is, the better it is, right? Right! And so with that in mind, you and all other scienists and space fans across the planet will be pleased to hear that biggest telescope ever made by human beings - the Atacama Large Millimeter/Sub Millimeter Array [http://www.almaobservatory.org/] (ALMA) - is about to start scanning the skies and showing us parts of the universe we've never seen before.

Located 16,500 feet above sea level in the northern desert of Chile, the ALMA will go fully live on March 13. It is composed of a total of 66 massive antennae, all of which work together to observe long infrared wavelengths of starlight that are invisible to the human eye. The location of the array, up high in an arid environment and about half an hour by car from the nearest town, gives it as clear a shot at these waves as is possible for something of its size on Earth.

One of the primary goals of the ALMA will be to use its sensitivity to long wavelngths of light to investigate the cool, dusty areas that seem to spring up around newborn stars. In doing so, the scientists running it hope to gain new insights into star formation, going further back in time than they ever have before. If all goes well, ALMA will provide us with the most detailed information on these features of the universe that anyone has ever had access to. Additionally, the scientists who work with this information will come from all over the world; ALMA is as much a testament to the power of human co-operation as it is anything else, built as it was by a multinational team composed of people from all across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

Of course, this is all basically meaningless when compared to the real purpose of these telescopes: amazing, high-definition this [http://hubblesite.org/gallery/]. Aren't they beautiful? And to think, their primary purpose is as data on the origins of the universe. Imagine being that beautiful and that useful at the same time. Regardless, it's exciting to think what discoveries are waiting out there, especially when we've got something so powerful to investigate them with. Happy travels, ALMA.


Source: i09 [http://io9.com/5989612/the-most-powerful-telescope-ever-constructed-goes-online-next-week]

Image: ALMA Observatory [http://www.almaobservatory.org/]


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Johnnydillinger

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Aug 16, 2011
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Well, hopefully we'll see what the Great Attractor (or Dark Attractor) is already. Shit's been bugging me for some time tbh.

EDIT - actually meant to say Dark Flow. Damn you science and your unimaginateive names!
 

Darks63

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Mar 8, 2010
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A ground bases telescope? I would have thought they would have opted for anther orbital one since they can get better images.
 

Tethalaki

You fight like a dairy farmer.
Nov 5, 2009
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Darks63 said:
A ground bases telescope? I would have thought they would have opted for anther orbital one since they can get better images.
This is an array of radio telescopes. Launching all 66 telescopes into space would be extremely expensive for very minimal benefit.
 

LiMaSaRe

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Mar 6, 2012
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World's largest telescope. Cloud-based brain for robots. Magic wound-closing medkits. Today has been a good day for science.
 

MrFalconfly

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Sep 5, 2011
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Darks63 said:
A ground bases telescope? I would have thought they would have opted for anther orbital one since they can get better images.
With Computer-based Optical wizardry like Adaptive and Active Optics the only reason one would want to launch a telescope into orbit is to capture wavelengths normally blocked by the atmosphere (like gamma-rays or other high-energy wavelengths).

Otherwise when it comes to radio-telescopes (or microwave telescopes like ALMA) the advantages are negligible and easily outweighed by the cost, maintenance and size advantages of a groundbased telescope fitted with an interferometer and adaptive optics.
 

Jamous

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Apr 14, 2009
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So... pretty.... I wonder what we'll find out with our shiny new toy? [small][sub](aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens aliens)[/sub][/small]
 

Zen Toombs

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Nov 7, 2011
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Science gets the job done once again.

I think I heard my Astronomy professor talking about the telescope too, not that it matters.
 

DragonV2.0

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Feb 19, 2013
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Darks63 said:
A ground bases telescope? I would have thought they would have opted for anther orbital one since they can get better images.
If it were at around sea level then yes dust in the air would obscure the vision a little

but this array is in the Atacama desert and very high above sea level so clouds and air pollution doesn't really matter any more

Nice to hear about this, looking forward to all the space science that this array will give us :)
 

Don Reba

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Jun 2, 2009
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Tethalaki said:
Darks63 said:
A ground bases telescope? I would have thought they would have opted for anther orbital one since they can get better images.
This is an array of radio telescopes. Launching all 66 telescopes into space would be extremely expensive for very minimal benefit.
Plus, we already have a large radio telescope in space; it works in cooperation with other radio telescopes on the ground to provide incredibly high-resolution data.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spektr-R