Imagine being able to witness stars being born from the comforts of Earth. Thanks to 20 years of research, over a billion dollars worth of investments, and countless hours of hard work, ALMA–or, Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array, we are poised to be able to do just that. Set on the very remote peak of Cerro Chajnantor in the Atacama region of South America, the grouping of ultra powerful telescopes are providing us with images of distances into space we once could only daydream about. Take a look at a timelapse of ALMA at work via National Geographic:
“ALMA is designed to penetrate the curtains of dust and gas that shroud galaxies, swirl around stars, and stretch through the expanses of interstellar space.”
An international collective consisting of Europe, Japan, and the US is responsible for the work ALMA is doing and, though its official launch was just a year ago at the time of writing, the images that are being made have already given astronomers and scientists new information to study. Even with only 16 antennas in working order, the scientists have been able to view new stars being formed in over 26 galaxies that averaged over 11.7 billion light-years away.
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