Bookmark and Share

About ALMA

ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array is arguably the largest astronomical project in existence.
It is currently being built by partners from Europe (ESO), North America (under the leadership of NRAO), and East Asia (NAOJ), on the 5,000 metre high plateau of Chajnantor in the arid Chilean Atacama Desert. With its fully reconfigurable array of 66 antennas, ALMA will study the Universe in the millimetre/submillimetre wavelength domain. Light at these wavelengths shines from vast cold clouds in interstellar space, and from galaxies with very high redshifts – the waves being stretched and “reddened” more and more by the expansion of the Universe.

Current millimetre/submillimetre telescopes have already led to many discoveries — but compared to ALMA, they have only revealed the tip of the iceberg. ALMA, with its incomparable power, both in terms of sensitivity and resolution, will truly open a new window on our cosmic origins in two major ways. ALMA will explore the origin of galaxies, analysing the earliest and most distant galaxies forming at the edge of the observable Universe. We see them as they were roughly ten billion years ago, in the primordial Universe, when many of them were colliding dramatically with each other.  Secondly, the origin of planets (including our Earth) will be unveiled by studying interstellar molecular clouds – the dense regions of gas and dust where new stars are being born. These clouds are dark and obscured in visible light, but shine brightly in the millimetre and submillimetre part of the spectrum. ALMA will provide scientists with detailed images of stars and planets being born in gas clouds in our Milky Way.

To know more about the ALMA project, please visit


ALMA, a worldwide collaboration


Contact Us