A ground-based telescope in Chile has shared its highest-resolution image ever, showcasing the final stages of star evolution within our galaxy 1,350 light-years from Earth.
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The telescope is officially called the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and is the largest millimeter-wave telescope in the world. Recently, the ground-based telescope pushed its capabilities by capturing its highest-resolution image to date, with researchers pointing its sensitive instruments at a star called R Leporis. To push ALMA to new levels, researchers devised a new calibration technique called band-to-band, enabling astronomers to probe objects with a level of precision that was once beyond their reach.
The new image was released on November 15 and was captured using ALMA’s highest frequency Band 10 receiver. This array configuration spans some 10 miles, and allows the telescope to see objects at an angular resolution of 5 milli-arcseconds, or the equivalent of seeing a 33-foot-long bus on the surface of the moon from Earth.
“The success of the Band 10 high-resolution observation showcases our commitment to innovation and reinforces ALMA’s position as a leader in astronomical discovery. We are excited about the new possibilities for the scientific community,” Asaki said in the statement.
“Achieving this unparalleled resolution through the band-to-band method has pushed ALMA’s capabilities to their absolute limit, opening a new window for astrophysics,” Antonio Hales, North American ALMA Regional Center Deputy Manager and part of the science team, said in the statement. “This allows astronomers to probe phenomena with a precision that was once beyond our reach.“