ALMA's millimeter/submillimeter wave test views here are represented in orange and yellows to contrast with the previous starbirth generations. ALMA images from Bands 3, 6, and 7 test data.) Credit: (NRAO/AUI/NSF); ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); HST (NASA, ESA, and B. Whitmore (STScI)
In a moment long-awaited by thousands of astronomers from around the globe, a cluster of precision radio telescopes located on the barren Chajnantor Plateau of northern Chile has finally gone operational. Although only partially complete, ALMA, or the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, is already considered the most advanced telescope of its type. Certainly, it's the highest, with a literally breath-taking base elevation of 16,500 feet (5000m).