Take A Look Inside The World’s Biggest Telescope


The office environment really does affect the efficiency of one’s work and therefore, we are seeing a change in trend; offices are being designed with relaxing views and an environment which boosts productivity. However, even among such offices we have some offices which are a class apart when it comes to uniqueness.
Members of the media work in front of the parabolic antennas of the ALMA project at the El Llano de Chajnantor in the Atacama desert ALMA 10 This particular office that we are going to talk about is one of its kind and comes with a spectacular view! Let’s go deep in to the Chilean Desert where you will find scientists working on the world’s largest telescope at one of the most dried up places on Earth.

ALMA 9 ALMA 8 ALMA 7Despite the scenic beauty and the views which these scientists get to witness, they do have some issues when it comes to working at their workplace, which is situated at an altitude of 16,400 ft. This altitude is somewhat at half the height at which a jumbo jet flies and is 4x more than the height of Ben Nevis. The telescope is being called the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and enjoys the titles of; ‘world’s largest’ and ‘world’s highest’ telescope. It is also the most expensive of its kind with a price tag of £1billion. Speculations regarding this telescope are quite promising where it is being said that it will allow the scientists to track what happened right after the universe creation.

The arrangement at the edge of Andes requires some precautions as well. Altitude sickness has to be factored in for and engineers perform as much work as possible on the lower ground where the control center is situated. The telescope site is visited with minimal frequency and workers ensure that they are carrying oxygen tanks with them.

ALMA 6 ALMA 5 ALMA 4Moving on to ALMA, it is made up of 66 huge antennae, which collect even the faintest radio waves that are then processed by a supercomputer. The cost to build this machine was £950million and was built under the notion of; ‘in search of our cosmic origins’. The idea is to gather info regarding where the planets, stars and the universe came from. ALMA collects radio waves instead of the optical light and this makes it capable to pierce even the dense dust clouds that are present in deep space. According to Brian Ellison who is ALMA’s UK Project Manager said; ‘It is said we are all made of stardust. ALMA will answer certain questions about where we came from.’

The telescope still has to be operated at full power. However, when operated with all the dishes enabled, the resulting image will be, when compared with Hubble space technology, ten times sharper. To give our readers a bit of perspective; if you were to obtain such an image from single ground based radio telescope it would have to be around 10 miles in width.

Parabolic antennas of the ALMA project are seen at the El Llano de Chajnantor in the Atacama desert A member of the media takes pictures of the parabolic antennas of the ALMA project at the El Llano de Chajnantor in the Atacama desertEuropean Southern Observatory said; ‘ALMA contributes profoundly to the satisfaction of curiosity, not just of the professional researcher, but of the child who looks at the sky full of stars and wonders what they are and what part of the universe we occupy.’
Check out more details in the video below:

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