20 October 2016

New ALMA Webcam Offers Stunning Views of the Array

A new high-definition camera has been installed at the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), providing a 24/7 interactive view of the telescope’s mountain home at 16,500 feet above sea level.

The new camera provides a live 360-degree view of the activities at ALMA’s “high site” throughout the year and can be used interactively to explore the site in all directions in exquisite detail. In addition to views of the array antennas, the camera also provides stunning views of the geologic wonders of the Chajnantor Plateau, including the Licancabur stratovolcano and the curious, blade-like snow formations known as penitentes, which form only in extremely high and dry conditions, like those found at ALMA.

The newly installed camera is so sensitive that it can reveal the night sky over ALMA as one would see it on site. The stunning visual capability of this new camera breaks new ground in providing live observatory views. With it, ALMA also is presented in razor-sharp, fish-eye images, which can also be used in planetariums around the world. The camera was provided by the France-based company Apical.

The webcam images, including the live 360-degree view, can be found here

ALMA, an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of ESO, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.

nrao16cb22dALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, as seen from the newly installed camera. From its remote home high up on Chile’s Chajnantor Plateau, ALMA observes the Universe in “light” that is invisible to human eyes, and that emanates from some of the coldest objects in space, such as the clouds of dust and gas where stars are just beginning to form. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)
nrao16cb22cFish-eye view of ALMA at Chajnantor plateau in Chile. This image was generated from the ALMA webcam and is the world’s first live observatory in razor-sharp 4k fish-eye images for use in planetariums around the world. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

nrao16cb22bALMA antennas on the Chajnantor Plateau as seen from the newly installed camera.  Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)