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The Atacama large milllimetre/submillimetre array (Alma) – one of the most advanced telescopes ever built. After 8 years it has finally seen first light, imaging the iconic Antennae Galaxies.

Situated at 5000 metres above sea level in a remote region of Chile the 20 giant dish array built jointly by the United States, the European Union, Canada, Chile, Japan and Taiwan was made to explore the deepest areas possible in order to understand the extreme early universe. It’s big now but it will eventually use 66 dishes! From the official ESO announcement

“Humanity’s most complex ground-based astronomy observatory, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), has officially opened for astronomers. The first released image, from a telescope still under construction, reveals a view of the Universe that cannot be seen at all by visible-light and infrared telescopes. Thousands of scientists from around the world have competed to be among the first few researchers to explore some of the darkest, coldest, furthest, and most hidden secrets of the cosmos with this new astronomical tool.”

Image from ESO.

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