Workers strike at world's largest radio telescope

Aug 22, 2013
In this Sept. 27, 2012 file photo, radio antennas are spread out on the terrain as part of one of the worlds largest astronomy projects, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chajnator in the Atacama desert in northern Chile. Workers at the world's largest radio telescope are staging a strike to demand a 15 percent salary increase and benefits to compensate for the high altitude and isolation they endure at their jobs. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz, File)

Workers at the world's largest radio telescope went on strike Thursday to demand better pay and working conditions.

The work stoppage began after union workers failed to reach an agreement with Associated Universities Inc., which employs the Chilean staff.

Nearly 200 striking workers are demanding a 15 percent salary increase as well as benefits to compensate for the high altitude and isolation they endure.

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA, is on a remote plateau above Chile's Atacama desert some 16,400-feet (5,000-meter) above sea level. Workers are exposed to strong winds, thin air and severe temperature drops.

It's the lack of humidity and low interference from other radio signals that make it the perfect spot for ALMA, which reaches farther than any other radio telescope.

ALMA searches for clues about the dawn of the cosmos, from the coldest gases and dust where galaxies are formed to the energy produced by the Big Bang. The $1.4 billion project is jointly funded by the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe.

Explore further: Gravitational waves according to Planck

4 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Another amazing ALMA result

May 30, 2013

Observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have revealed some of the most distant and actively star forming galaxies in our universe, thanks to an effect called gravitational lensing, which ...

Recommended for you

Gravitational waves according to Planck

13 hours ago

Scientists of the Planck collaboration, and in particular the Trieste team, have conducted a series of in-depth checks on the discovery recently publicized by the Antarctic Observatory, which announced last ...

Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather

13 hours ago

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own Sun. This may help ...

Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars

19 hours ago

Scientists have shown how gravitational waves—invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time that propagate through the universe—might be "seen" by looking at the stars. The new model proposes that ...

How gamma ray telescopes work

20 hours ago

Yesterday I talked about the detection of gamma ray bursts, intense blasts of gamma rays that occasionally appear in distant galaxies. Gamma ray bursts were only detected when gamma ray satellites were put ...

The frequency of high-energy gamma ray bursts

22 hours ago

In the 1960s a series of satellites were built as part of Project Vela.  Project Vela was intended to detect violations of the 1963 ban on above ground testing of nuclear weapons.  The Vela satellites were ...

User comments : 0