What I did:
I decided to read up on news regarding space. I read an article on BBC about the Alma (Atacama Large Millimetre Array) telescope.
What I learnt:
1. Based on the article, I learnt that Alma is
- the most powerful radio telescope in the world and the largest astronomical project in existence
- composed of 66 high-precision antennas of up to 12 metres in diameter, located at a 5,000m altitude on the Chajnantor plateau
- An international partnership between Chile and European, US, Canadian, Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean space and scientific organisations
- The dishes work in unison, detecting radio waves from outer space. The waves are converted into data by a super-computer, as powerful as three million laptops, and that data is sent to Alma's operations centre down the mountainside
2. Optical telescopes can only be used to detect light waves from a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. (an electromagnetic spectrum is a collective term for all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. The "electromagnetic spectrum" of an object has a different meaning, and is instead the characteristic distribution of electromagnetic radiation emitted or absorbed by that particular object. Taken from Wikipedia) They are fine for looking at bright things such as stars but are not so good at looking at the darker parts of the universe.
3. Binary star systems contain two suns rather than one.
Alma (Atacama Large Millimetre Array) is the most powerful radio telescope in the world and is located at the Andes mountains, close to the borders of Argentina and Bolivia. Alma consists of 66 dishes in total. The dishes work in unison, to detect radio waves from outer space. These waves are converted into data by a super-computer, and that data is sent to Alma's operations centre down the mountainside. Alma has recently been used to measure the mass of a supermassive black hole 73 million light years from Earth. It also detected sugar molecules in a gas surrounding a young star similar to our Sun, which suggests that other solar systems might be able to support life.