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World’s largest radio telescope gears up in Chile

 The world's largest network of radio telescopes is ready to begin the first phase of operations in northern Chile's Atacama Desert, an observatory announced Thursday.

The ALMA complex, under construction for over a decade, received on Wednesday the 16th of 66 total antennas, enough to "begin its first science observations, and is therefore an important milestone for the project," said the European Southern Observatory, which operates Chile's Paranal observatory.

Antenna 16, measuring 12 meters (40 feet) in diameter and weighing nearly 100 tons, is the first European contribution to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array project as part of a collaboration with United States and Japan.

It was delivered at the Chajnantor plateau, 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) above sea level, where it joined antennas from the other international ALMA partners. The European AEM Consortium, under contract from ESO, manufactured the antenna.

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