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New Webcam for ALMA Offers Stunning Views of the Array
Wednesday, 19 October 2016

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 is presented in razor-sharp 4k fish-eye images, which can also be used in planetariums around the world.

The camera was provided by the France-based company Apical.

Image from the ALMA webcam

Night-time image from the ALMA webcam. The Moon is high in the sky illuminating the landscape of Chile’s Chajnantor Plateau, and the stars are visible everywhere. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) | Download image

Image from the ALMA webcam

Daytime image from the ALMA webcam. ALMA, 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) | Download image

Image from the ALMA webcam

Fisheye view of ALMA. Fisheye 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. The camera was provided by the France-based company Apical, a high-tech company specializing in innovative solutions for wide-field and high-resolution imaging and for network connectivity in extreme, challenging places. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) | Download image

Additional information

ALMA is a partnership of ESO (representing its member states), NSF (USA) and NINS (Japan), together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of South Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. The Joint ALMA Observatory is operated by ESO, AUI/NRAO and NAOJ.


Valeria Foncea

Education and Public Outreach Officer

Joint ALMA Observatory

Santiago, Chile

Tel: +56 2 467 6258

Cell: +56 9 75871963
Email: valeria.foncea@alma.cl