A design study for a ground-breaking radio telescope has been recently approved by The European Commission, through the Horizon 2020 program. The international consortium is led by the University of Oslo, with scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) in Edinburgh
The Atacama Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope or AtLAST, for short, could provide astronomers with everything from a comprehensive catalogue of the chemicals constituents of galaxies in the earliest Universe – taking a ‘molecular fingerprint’ of primaeval galaxies.
It could be operational in the 2030s and will be a single dish submillimeter telescope, measuring 50m in diameter – enabling new discoveries that cannot be achieved with any current or planned astronomical facilities. It will complement the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and for this reason, since the beginning of the project, PACE scientists have been involved in different activities aiming to raise the attention of the international community on such a project.
Six working groups will now consider different aspects of the design requirements, making a long-term plan for the financial and governmental structure of AtLAST.