The road to the stars

This photograph shows the road to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)’s Operations Support Facility (OSF) and then on further to the breathtaking Chajnantor Plateau at 5000 metres above sea level. The plateau, situated in Chilean Puna in the Atacama region, is home to the Array Operations Site (AOS) and is the site of the highest and driest astronomical observatory on Earth.

The OSF is the centre of activities for the ALMA project and is where all staff and contractors are accommodated — only 2900 metres above sea level. This is where all the scientific operations related to the daily operation of the observatory take place.

The AOS houses a technical building — the second highest building on Earth — along with the ALMA correlator, the highest and fastest computer ever used at an astronomical site. Due to the high altitude, human operations are kept to a minimum.

ALMA will address some of the deepest questions of our cosmic origins as it explores the cool Universe – in particular molecular clouds, star formation and planetary systems.

Credit:

NAOJ/ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

About the Image

Id:potw1530a
Type:Photographic
Release date:27 July 2015, 10:00
Size:5148 x 3390 px

About the Object

Name:Chile
Type:Unspecified
Category:ALMA

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