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Hajjar is also concerned with the available science at ALMA and how it fits with the training and topics of interest to current astronomers in Lebanon. He mentions that most lack the experience and training in radio-astronomy. Another concern is time-sharing arrangements, or the time available to use telescope data. Once accepted, applicants have ten months to log eight hundred hours, “compare to the number of hours in ten months, knowing that radio astronomy is a day-long sport!” Hajjar understands, however, that it is too soon to draw any conclusions since ALMA is still in development, commissioning and testing phase. Hajjar argues that astronomy is on a growing curve in Lebanon. Though the number of people in the field is not yet very large, and funding is extremely scarce, students like Alain Khayat might be able to popularize the field of science, and perhaps, provide major breakthroughs

on the Lebanese front. “Astronomy was not regarded as a serious career path, at least by my family, and I assume by the society back in Lebanon,” he writes from NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility, at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, where he is designing and building instruments for ground-based telescopes, and observing planet Mars for his PhD. This opportunity came after he had completed a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Ecole des Hautes Etudes d’Ingénieur in France. The young student from Lebanon will be traveling to Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO). Located on the summit of Mauna Kea are world’s largest telescopes observing the sky in different wavelengths, from the submillimeter to the infrared and the optical part of the spectrum. He describes that scanning the sky from the radio to the visible part of the spectrum of light allows for an investigation into broad ranges of problems in the field of astronomy. Because ALMA is

not designed to study different regions of the spectrum of light, CSO might be at an advantage. The location also offers the “best seeing conditions,” boasts Khayat, and by 2018, the Thirty Meter Telescope will “open a bigger window on different objects in the sky.” If his claims are true, the lens for observation at Mauna Kea will be far greater than at the Chajnantor plateau, making it the true “Mecca of Astronomy.”

THE LENS FOR OBSERVATION AT MAUNA KEA WILL BE FAR GREATER THAN AT THE CHAJNANTOR PLATEAU, MAKING IT THE TRUE “MECCA OF ASTRONOMY” From conception the ALMA project is meant to address some of the deepest questions of our cosmic origins by using state-of-art technology to probe mysterious structures in space. Arguably, the most important project of our generation has teamed astronomers in unlikely pairs, working together broadly on the general development of astronomy worldwide. Their collaboration will test the various hardware components working together in extreme environment to overcome the complexity of the observatory, and of space ABOVE+LEFT: MAUNA KEA OBSERVATORY

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THE SHINING RAYS ISSUE

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RAGMAG Shining Rays Issue | July 2012 | issue #26  

www.ragmag.co | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @RAGMAGLebanon | FACEBOOK ragmag | PINTEREST Ragmag | In this issue: TORY BURCH, HANAA BEN ABDE...

RAGMAG Shining Rays Issue | July 2012 | issue #26  

www.ragmag.co | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @RAGMAGLebanon | FACEBOOK ragmag | PINTEREST Ragmag | In this issue: TORY BURCH, HANAA BEN ABDE...

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