Located in Atacama Desert in Chile, the giant telescope consists of 66 antennas operating as a network, while it still needed a dozen radio telescopes seven meters in diameter, to operate at full power capacity.
To move these behemoths over 95 tons each, we had to build two giant carriers, their characteristics being more than 20 meters long, over 10 meters wide and 6 meters high, and weight is around 130 tonnes. With their 28 tires, Otto and Lore being their name, can reach speeds of 20 km/h, provided that their 3000 liters tank is full, according to Gizmodo.
ALMA is a global project worth one billion euros, divided between Europe – through the European Southern Observatory (ESO) – The United States and Japan.
Expected to observe the sky for thirty years, the astronomical device is now able to see beyond all that telescopes in the world were able to detect so far. Its antennas, which can operate in unison, can act as one giant eye 16 miles wide in diameter.
ALMA will observe the light invisible to the human eye and through dense clouds of cosmic dust to reach the most remote and therefore the oldest and coldest parts of the cosmos. To perhaps identify the origins of the universe, about ten billion years ago.
The signals from each antenna are transmitted and processed by The Correlator, one of the world’s most powerful computers, specially designed and can carry up to 17 quadrillion operations per second.
In July, for example, ALMA observed more than 11 000 light-years away the embryo of a massive star, which should become up to 100 times larger than the Sun, allowing astronomers to identify the mechanism formation of this body of exceptional size.