A strong effort has been necessary to protect the antennas from the heat, but in the end they succeeded: ALMA started the observations of the Sun.
The lesson has been learned in the hard way: the Swedish–ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST) had a fire in its secondary mirror assembly after the telescope was accidentally pointed at the Sun.
However, this time things went very well, and this week have been released by the ESO a series of images that show the power of this new ALMA capability.
Scientists focused their attention into a well known sunspot, which was observed at 1.25 and 3 millimetres.
These observations probed different layer of the chromosphere, and opened a new frontier in the study of our precious star. For further details you can read the official press release of the ESO where other interesting images are available.
The annual European meeting of the ARC nodes and CoE this year will be held in the Costa de Caparica Hotel.
More than 50 scientists from the different ALMA nodes in Europe will attend this meeting to discuss the strategic lines for the future of ALMA, and the technical improvements of the official data reduction pipeline of the instrument.
The Portuguese Alma Center of Expertise (PACE) will guest the event in collaboration with the ESO-ALMA Headquarter of Garching.
The moment we have all waited for, the general public can now visit ALMA. From 29th March on, every Saturday and Sunday mornings, organised visits to the ALMA Operations Support Facility will take place. The visitor just needs to register in advance by completing and submitting the form available in the visits webpage.
A coordinated world-wide press-release was issued by the media departments of institutes involved in this work (including ESO), resulting in a substantial media coverage (see, for example, the articles by El Mundo, CBS news, Forbes, … a compilation of media coverage is presented here).
It’s official! The Centre of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL) is now part of the European Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA) support structure as a Centre of Expertise (CoE). More information here.