In this exhibition, visitors can learn about the world’s most powerful astronomical observatory and its contribution to knowledge about the origins of the universe.
A collection of radio telescopes perched 5,000 meters above sea level on the Chajnantor plateau in northern Chile’s Andes Mountains - the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (Alma) - is currently the world’s most powerful astronomical observatory. With these telescopes, astronomers can peer into the coldest parts of the universe, learning how stars, planetary systems and galaxies are formed.
The popular exhibition, “Alma, Exploring Our Cosmic Origins”, explains not only how the observatory works, the reasons for its location and its complex construction process, but also some of its surprising discoveries. Along with a set of impressive photographs, it includes comics and videos, appealing to both children and adults.
Visitors are also able to experiment with augmented reality and, using their mobile phone, take a picture of themselves alongside one of the observatory’s antennae. The exhibition also includes talks, workshops and practical activities in which Alma astronomers and researchers explain the origins of the universe.
This exhibition and other activities are part of the Regional Library’s preparation for the total solar eclipse that will occur in July 2019 and will be visible in central-northern Chile’s Coquimbo Region. Already identified in astronomy as the “event of the century”, it will offer the Region’s inhabitants an historical experience that last occurred 427 years ago and will not be repeated with similar characteristics for another 146 years.
Alma is a partnership between the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (Nins) of Japan in collaboration with the Republic of Chile.