One of the 21st Century’s grand scientific undertakings has begun its quest to view the “Cosmic Dawn”.

The Atacama large milllimetre/submillimetre array (Alma) in Chile is the largest, most complex telescope ever built.

Alma’s purpose is to study processes occurring a few hundred million years after the formation of the Universe when the first stars began to shine.

Its work should help explain why the cosmos looks the way it does today.

One of Alma’s scientific operations astronomers, Dr Diego Garcia, said that the effective switching on of the giant telescope ushered in a “new golden age of astronomy”.

“We are going to be able to see the beginning of the Universe, how the first galaxies were formed. We are going to learn so much more about how the Universe works,” he told BBC News.

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