ALMA and Talma also watched the solar eclipse

On July 2, 2019, inhabitants of Chile enjoyed an eclipse of the Sun, which was total in the regions of Coquimbo and Atacama. The Moon covered the Sun in different proportions depending on geographic location, meaning that the rest of the country was also able to observe it partially. ALMA was not in the total eclipse zone (76% of the Sun covered), and despite multiple climatic difficulties, ALMA astronomers didn’t want to miss this phenomenon, and were able to aim one of the 66 antennas to record this short video of the passage of the Moon in front of the Sun.

Credit:  Masumi Shimojo (NAOJ), Antonio Hales (NRAO/ALMA), Akihiko Hirota (NAOJ/ALMA); ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO

Did you like it? To achieve this, ALMA technicians, engineers, and astronomers had to work against the clock to recover the antennas after snowfalls just before the eclipse. They were able to make observations despite thick clouds that covered the sky at times, as well as intense wind, which even forced the work to stop before the end of the eclipse.

Talma also enjoyed the eclipse and used the opportunity to launch a new chapter of her adventure series. In this episode, she explains to her mom how a phenomenon like this occurs and reminds her of the importance of using certified glasses to observe an eclipse.