TECH
10/06/2011 12:43 pm ET Updated Dec 05, 2011

ALMA Telescope Offers New Look At Antennae Galaxies (IMAGES)

The Atacama Large Millimetre/sub-millimetre Array (ALMA) telescope in northern Chile has opened its eyes for the first time, and the results are a solid example of what's to come.

ALMA offers a new look at the colliding Antenna galaxies. According to the Associated Press,

The ALMA telescope uses radio technology to see wavelengths of light that are much longer than what's visible to the human eye, and much colder than what shows up in infrared telescopes. This allows astronomers to see some of the darkest and coldest regions of space – areas where galaxies are created, stars are formed, and planets form around those stars.

From National Geographic:

By detecting millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths with unprecedented resolution, ALMA will help uncover some of the darkest, coldest, and most distant objects in the universe.

So far, only 16 of 66 proposed antennae of the complete ALMA system have been constructed, and images it has produced are a bit fuzzy. However, when ALMA's images of the stunning Antennae Galaxies are overlaid with images from the Hubble space telescope, scientists are already getting a new perspective on the activities taking place within the galactic collision.

But according to ALMA's official site, when completed, the array will provide resolutions of objects like these galaxies with resolution up to five times that of Hubble.

This is just a taste of what's to come.

ALMA's First Image Of the Antennae Galaxies, Overlaid With Images From Hubble:

ALMA's First Image (Standalone):

A Wider View Of The Colliding Galaxies And The Trail Of Gas They Leave Behind: