Testing ALMA Band Receiver in Laboratory


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This picture shows an electronic engineer while is photographing the components in one of the Band receivers cartridges built for the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), one of the most sensitive and expensive parts of the Antennas. Extremely weak signals from space are collected by the ALMA antennas and focussed onto the receivers, which transform the faint radiation into an electrical signal. Before its construction is even completed, the new ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) telescope has embarked on an upgrade that will help astronomers investigate the earliest galaxies and search for water in other planetary systems, designing and building of an additional set of receivers with state-of-the-art performance, which will enable the telescope to access a portion of the spectrum of light that it cannot currently study. ALMA observes the Universe in radio waves: light which is invisible to our eyes. The weak glow coming from space is collected by the ALMA antennas and focused onto the receivers that transform the feeble radiation into an electrical signal. ALMA has 10 receiver bands to cover a wide range of observing frequency. For more effective reception of different bands of frequency, dedicated receivers have been developed for each band. The new receivers will be able to detect electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths between about 1.4 and 1.8 millimeters, one of the ranges of the spectrum to which Earth’s atmosphere is partially transparent, which allows the light to reach the ALMA antennas. These wavelengths correspond to radio frequencies between 163 and 211 Gigahertz. ALMA has reached a major milestone by extending its vision fully into the realm of the submillimetre, the wavelengths of cosmic light that hold intriguing information about the cold, dark, and distant Universe. Image taken in 14/10/2016 at the ALMA Operations Support Facility, close to San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile.

Image taken taken in 14/10/2015 from ALMA Operations Support Facility, Atacama desert, Chile.

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