ALMA, taken by Tania Johnston

This month we were joined by Tania Johnston from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh.  Tania is the Senior Public Engagement Officer and works in outreach with schools and the general public to promote astronomy and the research and technology being developed by the ROE (  The ASE has worked with Tania and her team on a number of occasions at different events, and it was a pleasure to have her along to one of our meetings.

Tania’s talk was entitled “ALMA and Llamas” and was a very interesting account of her visit to Chile which was funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.  The trip was over the course of 6 weeks and allowed Tania to explore the booming astrotourism business, and the various large telescopes which have been built in Chile because of it’s ideal conditions for ground-based observing.  In particular, she was able to visit ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and experience the process of assembling and placing one of the many dishes which make up the array.

Packing 6 weeks of experiences into a short talk must have been a difficult process, but for those of us who want to hear more about the amazing time Tania spent in Chile, her blog of the trip can be found here:

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which made the trip possible, grant funds to British citizens “to widen an individual’s experience in such a way that he or she grows in confidence, knowledge, authority and ambition. To bring benefit to others in the UK through sharing the results of the experience.”  Further information on the Trust can be found here:

Our thanks to Tania for coming along to share her experiences with us, and we hope to work with her and the ROE again very soon!

Rachel Thomas