Did you know that you are made of star stuff? It’s true! Many of the atoms in your body were created in other stars. It’s one of the most exciting discoveries in science ever made.
You live on a planet, called Earth. Together with seven other planets, Earth circles around the Sun. As far as we know, Earth is the only planet in our solar system where life exists. Life needs a planet to live on.
The Earth is a planet, orbiting the Sun. The Sun is a star – a giant ball of hot gas, emitting light and heat. The Sun is one of the few hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy.
The Sun is a star. Not many people know that. It’s a star like all the other stars in the night sky. Or, put differently: all the stars in the night sky are suns like our own.
ALMA measures millimeter waves from the sky. These millimeter waves are emitted by cold dust clouds in the Universe. The clouds are so cold that they don’t produce visible light. They’re completely dark. With a normal telescope, you can’t see them. But ALMA can detect their invisible radiation.
The huge array of 66 ALMA antennas is located at the Chajnantor Plateau in the north of Chile, at 5,000 meters altitude. The site is known as the AOS – the Array Operations Site. Because of the high altitude, the air at the AOS is very thin.
Your eyes are connected to your brain through thick bundles of nerve cells. These optic nerves transfer the signals from your two retinas to your brain. Your brain processes the signals, and turns them into a nice three-dimensional view of your surroundings. Of course, it’s important that the signals from your left eye arrive at the same time as the
Look around you. You see the text you are reading right now. You see the room where you’re sitting in. Outside the window, you may see the street where you live, and the Sun in the sky. Or, if it’s already dark, you may see the Moon and the stars. But how does this all work?
ALMA is the biggest astronomical observatory on Earth. It was built by countries in North America, Europe and East Asia. You might expect that ALMA is located in one of these three continents. But you would be wrong. ALMA is in South America.
ALMA is the highest observatory in the world. The Chajnantor Plateau, where the 66 ALMA antennas are located, is at five kilometers above sea level. It would take you about an hour to walk that distance – straight up!