Swedish ALMA receiver showcased at European Innovation Convention
Onsala Space Observatory is represented at this week's Innovation Convention in Brussels by a state-of-the-art receiver for the ground-breaking observatory ALMA.
At the European Innovation Convention 2011, the European Commission is showcasing the continent's best innovations. The project ALMA Enhancement, funded by the Commission’s FP6 program, was one of only 48 to be chosen for the event.
The 5.3 MEUR project’s goal, to build six receivers that will allow ALMA to investigate galaxies in the early universe, is now complete. The receiver is one of six that have been built for ALMA by Onsala Space Observatory’s Advanced Receiver Development group, based at Chalmers. The first of the six to be completed is already mounted on a 12-meter ALMA antenna, 5000 m above sea level in the Atacama desert in Chile.
ALMA, is an international astronomy facility now being build in northern Chile, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The observatory will be used to study the youngest and most distant galaxies in the universe, and to see into areas where layers of cosmic dust otherwise prevent astronomers from studying the birthplaces of stars and planets. To do this, ALMA observes in light with wavelength of around one millimeter. Such light is invisible to our eyes and lies between infrared light and radio waves in the electromagnetic spectrum.
The new receivers detect radio waves with wavelengths between 1.4 and 1.8 millimetres (frequencies between 163 and 211 gigahertz; known as ALMA Band 5). They will enable ALMA to see radiation emitted by water molecules in our galaxy and beyond, and investigate how stars are formed in the most distant galaxies.
The project was funded by the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.
Robert Cumming, astronomer and information officer, Onsala Space Observatory,
Victor Belitsky, professor, Chalmers leader for the Advanced Receiver Development group
Last modified: January 04, 2012
Responsible for this page: Robert Cumming