Radio Interferometry and ALMA

Rachel Friesen, Dunlap Institute

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is a revolutionary new facility in the Chilean Andes for studying the (sub)millimeter sky at angular resolutions as small as ~6 milliarcsec at the shortest wavelengths.

A joint partnership between North America (including Canada), Europe and East Asia, ALMA was inaugurated in March 2013, with the 66th and final antenna accepted in September.

Through two Early Science cycles thus far, ALMA observations have already made exciting new discoveries, including imaging the CO ‘snow line’ in protostellar disks, the detection of galaxy-scale molecular outflows, and the discovery of a spiral gas shell around the AGB star R Sculptoris.

In this AID, I will discuss some basics of radio interferometry, and introduce the benefits and challenges of pushing to shorter wavelengths. I will also describe ALMA’s capabilities, both for the completed array, and relevant to the Cycle 2 Early Science call for proposals.


Credit: C. Padilla/ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)