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ALMA’s science, so far

Scientists commissioned this giant submillimeter array in March, and they've already made plenty of discoveries.
RELATED TOPICS: ALMA
ALMA
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array is made of 66 antennas situated in Chile’s Atacama Desert. // ESO/Christoph Malin
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is the largest telescope studying radiation at these long wavelengths. This radiation comes from cold objects in the sky — like dust disks that will eventually lead to planets and prestellar cores marking the very early stages of star formation.

From a plateau some 16,400 feet (5,000 meters) above sea level at the northern portion of Chile’s Atacama Desert, ALMA uses 66 antennas — the last batch are currently in the testing phases. Even though it’s still early in the project, the array has logged many discoveries. Here are a few of the biggest finds so far this year.
ESO/L. Calçada

ALMA discovers comet factory

Researchers found a cashew-nut-shaped region of dust particles around the star Oph-IRS 48. They think that large dust grains can collide and stick together, and perhaps grow to the size of comets, while hanging out in this region. Learn more >>
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