National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Halfway There: 33 ALMA Antennas on Chajnantor

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On the 5,000 meters altitude Chajnantor plateau in northern Chile, construction of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the most complex ground-based astronomy observatory in the world, continues apace. On 12 May 2012, another ALMA antenna was carried up to Chajnantor, bringing the total on the plateau to 33 for the first time.

The first of the antennas made the trip up to Array Operations Site at the Chajnantor plateau in September 2009. This time, it marks a halfway point for ALMA, as the telescope will have a total of 66 antennas when completed. Now, as ALMA approaches completion, antennas are arriving at an increasing rate.

The picture in below, these are 33 antennas that were carried up to Array Operations Site at the Chajnantor plateau. At present, the antennas are located all together at the so-called "central array", except one, far right on the picture, situated 1,966 meters away from the others, which allows doing tests of longish baselines.

Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Guarda (ALMA)