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TOPIC: Atacama Large Millimeter Array


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Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimeter Array (ALMA)
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ALMA observatory equipped with its first antenna
High in the Atacama region in northern Chile, one of the world's most advanced telescopes has just passed a major milestone. The first of many state-of-the-art antennas has just been handed over to the Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) project. ALMA is under construction on the plateau of Chajnantor, at an altitude of 5000 m. The telescope is being built by a global partnership, including ESO as the European partner.
ALMA will initially comprise 66 high precision antennas, with the option to expand in the future. There will be an array of fifty 12-metre antennas, acting together as a single giant telescope, and a compact array composed of 7-metre and 12-metre diameter antennas.

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Acceptance of the First Antenna by the ALMA Observatory.
Wednesday, 17 December 2008

phot-49a-08-preview.jpg

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RE: The Submillimeter Array
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Officials at the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) telescope are stepping up security at its construction site in Chile after two researchers were kidnapped on a nearby road.

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In the thin, dry air of northern Chile's Atacama Desert, at an altitude of 16,500 feet, an amazing new telescope system is taking shape, on schedule to provide the world's astronomers with unprecedented views of the origins of stars, galaxies, and planets. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) will open an entirely new "window" on the Universe, allowing scientists to unravel longstanding and important astronomical mysteries.

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The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
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RE: The Submillimeter Array
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ALMA Antenna Transporter Presentation
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Today, the first of the two ALMA antenna transporters was given its name at a ceremony on the compounds of the manufacturer, the heavy-vehicle specialist Scheuerle Fahrzeugfabrik GmbH, in Baden-Württemberg. The colossus, 10 metres wide, 20 metres long and 6 metres high, will be shipped to Chile by the end of the month. The second one will follow in a few weeks.
The transporter was named 'Otto' in honour of Otto Rettenmaier, the owner of the Scheuerle company.

"The rather unusual move to name a vehicle is a recognition of the remarkable achievement these unique machines represent. Their sizes alone would justify using superlatives to describe them. But they are also outstanding as they will operate at 5000 metres altitude, where the air is rare, and they have to be able to place 115-ton antennas with a precision of a few millimetres" - Hans Rykaczewski, the European ALMA Project Manager.

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ALMA Transporter
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First ALMA Transporter Ready to Go
The first of two spectacular vehicles for the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) Observatory rolled out of its hangar and passed successfully a series of tests. This vehicle, the ALMA antenna transporter, is a rather exceptional 'lorry' driving on 28 tyres. It is 10m wide, 20m long and 6m high, weighs 130 tons and has as much power as two Formula 1 engines. This colossus will be able to transport a 115-ton antenna and set it down on a concrete pad within millimetres of a prescribed position.

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Acute Mountain Sickness Mystery
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ALMA to Help Solving Acute Mountain Sickness Mystery
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) astronomical project will not only enlarge our knowledge of the vast Universe beyond the imaginable. It will also help scientists learn more about the human body.
Located 5000m above sea level, in the Chilean Atacama desert, ALMA is the highest site for ground-based astronomy. This property will be put to good use for academic institutions in Chile and in Europe in order to study the human response to extreme altitude conditions.
During a ceremony held on 2 April in Antofagasta, the largest town close to ESO's Very Large Telescope, representatives from ALMA, ESO and the University of Antofagasta have officially launched a collaborative agreement that also involves the University of Chile and the University of Copenhagen (Denmark). The newly established cooperation aims at contributing to the promotion of teaching, scientific research, and the expansion of altitude physiology and medicine or other related areas considered appropriate.

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First galaxies
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Title: Studying the first galaxies with ALMA
Authors: C.L. Carilli (NRAO), F. Walter (MPIA), R. Wang (NRAO), A. Wootten (NRAO), K. Menten (MPIfR), F. Bertoldi (Bonn), E. Schinnerer (MPIA), P. Cox (IRAM), A. Beelen (MPIfR), A. Omont (IAP)

We discuss observations of the first galaxies, within cosmic reionisation, at centimetre and millimetre wavelengths. We present a summary of current observations of the host galaxies of the most distant QSOs (z ~6). These observations reveal the gas, dust, and star formation in the host galaxies on kpc-scales. These data imply an enriched ISM in the QSO host galaxies within 1 Gyr of the big bang, and are consistent with models of coeval supermassive black hole and spheroidal galaxy formation in major mergers at high redshift. Current instruments are limited to studying truly pathologic objects at these redshifts, meaning hyper-luminous infrared galaxies (L_{FIR} ~10^{13} L_\odot). ALMA will provide the one to two orders of magnitude improvement in millimeter astronomy required to study normal star forming galaxies (ie. Ly-alpha emitters) at z ~6. ALMA will reveal, at sub-kpc spatial resolution, the thermal gas and dust -- the fundamental fuel for star formation -- in galaxies into cosmic reionisation.

arXiv:astro-ph/0703799v1 (406kb, PDF)

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