First light for ALMA bolometer – University of Copenhagen

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06 August 2008

First light for ALMA bolometer

The world's largest bolometer camera for submillimetre astronomy is now in service at the 12-m APEX telescope, located on the 5100m high Chajnantor plateau in the Chilean Andes. LABOCA was specifically designed for the study of extremely cold astronomical objects and, with its large field of view and very high sensitivity, will open new vistas in our knowledge of how stars form and how the first galaxies emerged from the Big Bang. "A large fraction of all the gas in the Universe has extremely cold temperatures of around minus 250 degrees Celsius, a mere 20 degrees above absolute zero," says Karl Menten, director at the Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany, that built LABOCA. "Studying these cold clouds requires looking at the light they radiate in the submillimetre range, with very sophisticated detectors."

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