ESO Takes Delivery of State-of-the-art Receiver that will Help ALMA See “Water, Water Everywhere…”
15 December 2010
The world’s most sensitive receiver for radio waves with wavelengths around 1.5 millimetres has been delivered to ESO. Its final destination is the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), which is under construction 5000 metres above sea level in northern Chile, on the Chajnantor plateau. ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence, is a partnership of Europe, North America and East Asia in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, and ESO is the European partner in ALMA. The receiver — operating in a wavelength range known as Band 5 at ALMA — will allow scientists to trace water vapour in the nearby Universe, and will also provide an unprecedented view of the most distant galaxies. The delivery is an important milestone for the project for ALMA Enhancement of Early Science, funded by the 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission. The project has developed new technologies from scratch in just five years. The development of the receivers has been led by the Group for Advanced Receiver Development at Onsala Space Observatory and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and the STFC–Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) Millimetre Wave Technology Group in the UK.
“The delivery of this first Band 5 Receiver is a major milestone for ESO as the European ALMA partner. It provides a stable basis for future plans to equip all 66 ALMA antennas with this new wavelength. The commitment and achievements of the staff involved at Chalmers and RAL, as well as support from other European partners, are greatly appreciated,” says Gie Han Tan, ALMA European Front End Project Manager at ESO.
“ALMA Band 5 receivers will give access to an extremely scientifically interesting wavelength range, with great potential for new research that we cannot presently do. The astronomical results will complement observations made by ESA’s Herschel mission,” says Hans Rykaczewski, ALMA Enhancement Programme Co-ordinator at ESO.
- Press release at Chalmers University of Technology
- Information about ALMA at ESO
- Joint ALMA Observatory website
- European Commission Research Infrastructures home page
Gie Han Tan
ALMA European Front End Project Manager, ESO
Tel: +49 89 3200 6487
ALMA Enhancement Programme Co-ordinator, ESO
Tel: +49 89 3200 6630
ALMA Public Information Officer, ESO
Tel: +49 89 3200 6759
About the Announcement