National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Antennas Watching the Southern Sky

Night Scape Photograph・

Antennas Watching the Southern Sky

I photographed these antennas continuing their vigil in the ALMA Array Operations Site (Altitude 5000 meters) together with stars representative of the southern sky. The 2 stars shining in a row in the Milky Way rising up on the left side of the image are Alpha and Beta Centauri. Above them, the Coalsack dark nebula and the stars of the Southern Cross can be seen. On the right side of the picture, 2 objects which look like hazy clouds can be seen. These are the Large Magellanic Cloud (upper) and Small Magellanic Cloud (lower), 2 small galaxies neighboring the Milky Way Galaxy we live in.

Stars Visible Only in the South

Because ALMA is located in the southern hemisphere, it is possible to see stars which can’t be seen from Japan, which is in the northern hemisphere. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are good examples, making them suitable observational targets for ALMA. In addition to being easy to observe because they are right next to the Milky Way, extremely large star clusters are being formed in these galaxies and the gas contained in the galaxies has retained its characteristics from an earlier era, allowing us to observe in detail phenomena which the Milky Way is thought to have experienced long ago.

Text by: Masaaki Hiramatsu (NAOJ Chile Observatory)
Translation by: Ramsey Lundock (Public Relations Center, NAOJ)

Image Data

CameraCanon EOS 5D Mark III
Exposure20 seconds, ISO6400, f/5
DateMarch 14, 2016
PhotographerMasaaki Hiramatsu
CreditNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan


Related Links