Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Alma Telescope Begins Study of Cosmic Dawn

Numerous short clips of Alma and other cosmic related stuff at the link. Hopefully they are accessible outside the UK, could somebody please confirm?

Alma Telescope Begins Study of Cosmic Dawn

One of the 21st Century's grand scientific undertakings has begun its quest to view the "Cosmic Dawn".

The Atacama large milllimetre/submillimetre array (Alma) in Chile is the largest, most complex telescope ever built.

Alma's purpose is to study processes occurring a few hundred million years after the formation of the Universe when the first stars began to shine.

Its work should help explain why the cosmos looks the way it does today.

One of Alma's scientific operations astronomers, Dr Diego Garcia, said that the effective switching on of the giant telescope ushered in a "new golden age of astronomy".

"We are going to be able to see the beginning of the Universe, how the first galaxies were formed. We are going to learn so much more about how the Universe works," he told BBC News.

Alma consists of an array of linked giant antennas on top of the highest plateau in the Atacama desert, close to Chile's border with Bolivia.

It has been under construction since 2003. With the addition of new antennas, the telescope has been able to see progressively deeper into the cosmos and discern star formation processes in ever greater detail.

The full testing and commissioning of its 20th antenna has enabled Alma to record events that have never been seen before. It is now that the first scientific discoveries can be made.

As a taster of what is to come, the European Southern Observatory, one of the organisations that run the facility, has released the first images taken by Alma. They show - perhaps appropriately for the occasion - the collision of two galaxies known as the Antennae Galaxies.

These colossal collections of stars can be seen using optical telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. But Alma, which gathers light that is not visible to the eye, is able to pick out clouds of dense cold gas from which new stars form.

The images show concentrations of the star-forming gas at the centres of each galaxy and also in the chaotic region where they are colliding. It is here that new stars and planets will be born.

The image was taken using just 12 antennas. The sharpness and resolution of images will increase dramatically as more antennas are added. The aim is for Alma to have 66 antennas by 2013.

So what do the researchers hope to discover? more


Anonymous said...

accessible in Holland, thanks. H

Himself said...

Dank u.

Anonymous said...

The brightest stars don't live alone.

Himself said...

The results are published in the 27 July 2012 issue of the journal Science.

DOB 27/07/48


Anonymous said...

As it happens, we share the same astrological sign. X

Anonymous said...

Time-traveling with one method illuminates the evolution of star formation in the universe.

Himself said...

Thank you, interesting.

But we don't have to go so far to see a history of our own violent past and formation, it's all on our doorstep so to speak.

You don't see any new impact craters on the moon.

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

I'll save it for later, too much going on in me head right now.

Anonymous said...