July 21, 2024

ALMA is now able to observe the “childhood” of the universe

2 min read
ALMA is now able to observe the "childhood" of the universe
ALMA is now able to observe the "childhood" of the universe

Soon, astronomers will have the opportunity to study radio signals emitted at the time of reionization of the universe, that is, when the universe was less than a billion years old. This is because the new receivers of the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope have “opened their eyes” for the first time in a successful test, extending the wavelengths that ALMA can observe.

A new set of receivers picks up radio waves with lengths between 6 and 8.5 millimeters, which will allow astronomers to observe the early universe and discover how planets formed. Until then, eight of the 10 planned receivers (bands 10–3) covered wavelengths between 0.3 and 3.6 mm.

(Photo: clone/ESO/B. Freshy)

The new range between 6 and 8.5 cm is ideal for studying two scientific goals: the epoch of reionization, which was when the first stars formed and filled the universe with high-energy radiation, and dust grains in star-forming regions and protoplanetary disks. . This second type of study will provide more information about the processes that lead to the formation of planets, asteroids, comets and moons.

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Finally, the final set of ALMA receptors has already begun. The directors of the observatory recently signed a contract to develop the group, which will be led by a group of European institutions. New receivers make up Band 1, while the last ones to be installed will make up Band 2.

Source: who – which

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