Wallpaper Wednesday

18 05 2011

Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) antennae

Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) antennae. Photo credit: ESO/José Francisco Salgado.

Today’s wallpaper comes to us courtesy of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile.  What you see are four antennae completed as part of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). ESO and its international partners are in the process of constructing sixty-six of these antennae, all tuned to observe cold-body radiation with wavelengths of a millimeter or less. Radiation with such short wavelengths comes mostly from cold gas and dust clouds, in which stars are being born, or from early, cooling galaxies. Astronomers hope that the information gathered from these cold objects will bring us one step closer to understanding the origins of the universe.

ESO has provided a four-minute “trailer” about the project, available in multiple formats (HD always recommended if your system can handle it) in the video archive. Look for the brief glimpses of the construction equipment.