The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) is an international astronomy facility. The ALMA gigantic radio telescope array consists of up to 64 12m
antennas and the ACA system (4 12m antennas and 12 7m antennas), under construction on an Andean plateau at 5,000m above sea level in Chile. ALMA is a partnership
among Europe, Japan and North America, in cooperation with the Republic of Chile, with its full operation expected in 2012. Taiwan is also contributing to ALMA as
a partner of Japan.
ALMA will be the forefront instrument for studying the cool universe – the relic radiation of the Big Bang, and the molecular gas and dust that constitute the
building blocks of stars, planetary systems, galaxies, and life itself. This material typically resides at temperatures of 3-100 K, resulting in spectral energy
distributions peaking at submillimeter through to far-infrared wavelengths.
Most of the energy in the Universe lies in two thermal components – the cosmic background and the far infrared background – whose Earth-accessible spectrum lies
within the ALMA frequency coverage. Indeed, the peak of the spectral energy distribution for dusty objects in the distant universe becomes redshifted entirely to
submillimeter wavelengths. While a number of current and future telescopes will operate at submillimeter wavelengths in order to exploit the wealth of information
available in this part of the electromagnetic spectrum, none will have the combination of sensitivity, resolution, and frequency coverage of ALMA.
National Science Foundation via the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the North American ALMA Science Center
National Research Council of Canada
European Southern Observatory and the European Regional Support Center
Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) under the National Institutes of National Sciences (NINS)
ALMA-Taiwan, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Republic of Chile