ANALYSIS: ALMA Peers into the Dusty Heart of Centaurus A
Our trip began with a jaunt around Santiago, Chile, for some excellent food and a bit of sightseeing while we all got to know each other and our hosts, John Stoke, Tania Burchell, and Charles Blue of the NRAO in Charlottesville, Virginia, my former hometown.
On Monday morning, we were treated to a special presentation of what I like to call "guerrilla outreach," or bringing science to the people where they live, work, and play. We crowded onto a metro train just at morning rush, a special train where all the cars are full of advertisements about radio astronomy. The designer of the display, Sergio Cabezon, herded most of us onto the train where we gaped at the sheer volume of people in the morning rush and the displays explaining various tidbits of information about radio telescopes such as the Green Bank Telescope, the Very Large Array, and the hometown hero, ALMA.
We eventually squeezed off the train to the metro station at Baquedano where a large mural of ALMA marked the entrance to an exhibit space that will be open until March 31. Inside, we were treated to some opening remarks by various NRAO and AUI representatives. Phil Jewell spoke of the many years of plotting and planning to build a large millimeter array as a successor to many of the smaller telescopes now in existence. Alison Peck detailed some of the scientific highlights to come from this telescope with its capability to peer through the dust-enshrouded regions of star formation or the distant glow of young galaxies in the early universe.