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27 June 2006 The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array: overview and status
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The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an international radio telescope under construction in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. ALMA will be situated on a high-altitude site at 5000 m elevation which provides excellent atmospheric transmission over the instrument wavelength range of 0.3 to 3 mm. ALMA will be comprised of two key observing components - an array of up to sixty-four 12-m diameter antennas arranged in a multiple configurations ranging in size from 0.15 to ~14 km, and a set of four 12-m and twelve 7-m antennas operating in closely-packed configurations ~50m in diameter (known as the Atacama Compact Array, or ACA), providing both interferometric and total-power astronomical information. High-sensitivity dual-polarization 8 GHz-bandwidth spectral-line and continuum measurements between all antennas will be available from two flexible digital correlators. At the shortest planned wavelength and largest configuration, the angular resolution of ALMA will be 0.005". The instrument will use superconducting (SIS) mixers to provide the lowest possible receiver noise contribution, and special-purpose water vapor radiometers to assist in calibration of atmospheric phase distortions. A complex optical fiber network will transmit the digitized astronomical signals from the antennas to the correlators in the Array Operations Site Technical Building, and post-correlation to the lower-altitude Operations Support Facility (OSF) data archive. Array control, and initial construction and maintenance of the instrument, will also take place at the OSF. ALMA Regional Centers in the US, Europe and Japan will provide the scientific portals for the use of ALMA; a call for early science observations is expected in 2009. In this paper, we present the status of the ALMA project as of mid 2006.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Anthony J. Beasley, Richard Murowinski, and Massimo Tarenghi "The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array: overview and status", Proc. SPIE 6267, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes, 626702 (27 June 2006);


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