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Sunday, January 2, 2011

What Is This?

What Is This? 

My guess: An alien beacon recently discovered at Llano Chajnantor, 16,450-feet high in the Chilean Atacama desert, 50 kilometers to the east of San Pedro de Atacama. In reality, its name is APEX, and it's a galactic vacuum cleaner.
APEX—the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment—is a collaboration between Max Planck Institut für Radioastronomie, Onsala Space Observatory and the European Southern Observatory to construct and operate a modified ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) prototype antenna as a single dish on the high altitude site of Llano Chajnantor.
Observing with APEX allows us to study cold dust and gas in our own Milky Way and in distant galaxies. Tracing the thermal continuum emission and analyzing high frequency spectral lines improve our understanding of the structure and chemistry of planetary atmospheres, dying stars, regions of star formation as well as distant starburst galaxies. We can address issues from the vast scales of the structure of the Universe down to the physics and chemistry of comets.
There you go, I was right: An alien beacon that looks into starstuff or something. [It's Full of Stars]

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