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Deep space cataclysm as twin galaxies collide 70 million light years from earth

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galaxies-230AWESOME seems too small a word – because this is a picture of two galaxies colliding, 70 million light years from earth.

 

It is the remarkable first effort from the new $1.3billion radio telescope based in the Chilean Andes and it is a picture  no other telescope on Earth or in space could capture.

The snap is the opening salvo from the brand new, and snappily-named, Atacama Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope (ALMA), which is currently running at only 25% of its full capacity.

The radio telescope is the most expensive ground-based telescope ever built - and the highest-altitude, at 16,000ft. Chile's Atacama desert was chosen as its location for its dryness and clarity.

American projeect manager Mark McKinnon said: “ALMA'S test views show us star-forming regions on a level of detail that no other telescope on Earth or in space has attained.

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“It should allow us to see  the formation of new solar systems.”

ALMA, as it is known, can see through cold clouds of dust that 'block the view' of traditional infrared/visible light telescopes.

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