This Wednesday, at a reception of NOVA-Groningen, a few dozen scientists celebrated the
official inauguration of the
ALMA radio telescope in Chile. ALMA is the largest telescope built to date, with 56 of the 66 dishes already installed at an altitude of 5,000 meters in the Atacama Desert.
Each dish is fitted with detectors for ten different frequency bands. The Band 9 receiver was designed and built by astronomers from the University of Groningen’s Kapteyn Astronomical Institute with support from the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy NOVA. Earlier this month, Kapteyn and NOVA signed a contract to build the Band 5 receivers as well over the next five years.
All this was reason enough for a small party in Groningen. There was a live stream of the inauguration in Chile, which started almost an hour late, as some high-ranking officials arrived late. In the SRON coffee corner, the astronomers and technicians in Groningen killed their time with conversation, bitterballen and a special Chilean cocktail: Pisco Sour.
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