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Knowledgebase: General ALMA Queries
How close can ALMA observe to the Sun?
23 March 2011 07:18 PM
ALMA can actually point at the Sun (although solar observations are not yet available). Small grooves or etchings in the antenna surface are designed to ensure that sunlight is not reflected to the secondary subreflector, and observations of the Sun have already been made during commissioning. However, detectable solar emission is seen in the antenna sidelobes up to several degrees away from the Sun, so it is not advisable to point closer to the Sun than a couple of primary beamwidths from the solar photosphere to avoid a large amount of contamination in the observations. 
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