Atacama Large Milimetre Array

The Atacama desert in the north of Chile is the driest place on earth and as a consequence has clear skies on 360 days a year.

This and the altitude of the desert that is 5000m up in the Andes makes it perfect for Astronomy, and a number of large telescopes are already in place there. 


The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) is an astronomical interferometer of radio telescopes and is the project which has taken away funding from the UK’s Infra Red Telescope that I saw on Hawaii back in December. It consists of 66 12-meter and 7-meter diameter radio telescopes observing at millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelengths.

It is the most expensive ground-based telescope in operation, but ALMA is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early universe and detailed imaging of local star and planet formation.

south_skyI don’t have the time to go and see this science marvel but to be honest would settle for a clear night because since I have arrived in South America it has been overcast everywhere I have been.

The southern sky will be keeping me company for the next five months and I want to try and pick out these constellations.

Maybe tomorrow night!




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