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Paper: The MMA/LSA/LMSA ALMA Project
Volume: 217, Imaging at Radio Through Submillimeter Wavelengths
Page: 243
Authors: Brown, R. L.
Abstract: The joint MMA/LSA/LMSA (ALMA) Project will bring to millimeter and sub-millimeter astronomy the ability to conduct precision imaging on sub-arcsecond angular scales. The richness of the celestial sky at millimeter wavelengths is provided by thermal emission from cool gas, dust, and solid bodies, the same material that shines brightly at far infrared wavelengths. The ALMA will image at 1 mm wavelength with the same 0'' {-0.35em}.1 resolution achieved by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) at visible wavelengths and will provide scientific insight at longer wavelengths that is complementary to that of the HST, and its successor instrument the Next Generation Space Telescope, and it will do so with the same image detail and clarity. The technical objectives of the joint ALMA project will be precision astronomical imaging with sensitivity sufficient for the study of faint objects. The technical requirements for the array are: (1) development of broadband, quantum-limited receivers in each of the atmospheric windows from 30 to 900 GHz; (2) design of antennas of very low blockage to minimize spillover; and (3) choice of a site where the background emission and absorption from atmospheric water vapor is minimized. The first two points are the focus of the present three-year Design and Development phase of the ALMA underway in the U. S., Europe and Japan; the third is satisfied by the site chosen for the ALMA at 5000m elevation in the Altiplano of northern Chile.
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