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Amazing timelapse of the Chilean ALMA antennas at night

first_imgIn the Chile’s Atacama Desert, 5000 meters above sea level, there is an array of 66 antennas collectively known as ALMA. The Atacama Large Millimeter Array accounts for over a billion dollars worth of astronomical research, so you can bet it’s pretty interesting.This fantastic, though unfortunately silent, time-lapse shows some of the radio antennas working through the night. They move only occasionally but as the night progresses we can watch the stars move across the sky. It’s a striking scene.The stars are incredibly brillant thanks to the altitude, the lack of air/light pollution, and probably whatever camera/lens the time-lapse was shot with. The video nicely juxtaposes the vastness of space and our comparatively puny attempts to take in all the information around us (well, at least for me it does). A large array of gigantic satellites dishes might have someone feeling pretty advanced, by quick look up at that starry scene will remind them of just how much space they are dealing with.This might be a bit off topic, but I know some you are are thinking about the 1997 movie, Contact. The movie was shot a similar facility, but not at ALMA. That was actually at the VLA (Very Large Array), which is in Socorro, New Mexico. It has 27 radio antennas, each of which are 82 feet in diameter. And a little trivia for you: the VLA is not actually used for SETI research.via io9last_img

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