By tying together the observational power of three radio telescopes, astronomers have made the sharpest observation of a distant galaxy, some two million times sharper than human vision. That’s big news in an of itself, but it’s even bigger news for astronomers pursuing next-level Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI). The observation demonstrates a kind of telescopic collaboration that’s never been seen before, hinting at the future of astronomical observation.
A little more than a decade from now, one of the world’s great arid plains will become a bustling intersection of high-resolution astronomy and high-powered computing. Scrub land in either South Africa or Australia will host the biggest telescope ever, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), designed to listen to the oldest birth pangs of the universe. And the brains of the operation will likely be the world’s most powerful supercomputer.
New Mexico's Very Large Array, a giant radio telescope observatory which took a PopSci largeness prize recently, is named in a fine tradition of utilitarian monikers like the European Extremely Large Telescope and the ultimately impractical Overwhelmingly Large Telescope.
But, following a massive rebuilding of the 1970s electronics from the ground up, the VLA feels it needs a new name, and it's open to suggestions!
Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory will soon be the world’s largest radio telescope no more. After years of planning, China has broken ground on the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), a massive bowl-shaped radio signal collector that will be the world’s most sensitive when it opens for business in 2016.
A gigantic radio telescope in Virginia has started listening to 86 Earth-like planet candidates identified by the Kepler Space Telescope, hoping to hear signs of alien life. Astronomers aren’t even sure the stars to which they are listening actually harbor planets, let alone radio-communicating extraterrestrials, but hey, we might as well bend an ear, right?
By linking together three massive radio telescopes in Europe, South Africa and Western Australia a University of Southampton professor is taking the lead in a global effort to capture astrophysical events across the entire sky for the first time.
It took mankind centuries to map the Earth, and even with all of the indexed knowledge in the world behind it Google can't always figure out exactly where the nearest Pinkberry is. So one might imagine how even with the amazing leaps in technology over past decades, mapping the universe is no small undertaking. But a new technique could allow cosmic cartographers to map 500 times as much of the universal landscape as they have thus far at a fraction of the cost.
Until recently, radio astronomers have concentrated almost exclusively on the high-energy radiation streaming in towards Earth from exotic stellar bodies like pulsars, quasars, and super-massive black holes. But now, a new European observatory called the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) has begun releasing data on the low-energy radiation that permeates the Universe.
This week, scientists from around the globe converge on Cambridge University in England to discuss mankind's relationship with intelligent life from beyond the stars. So far, the news is not promising.
Neutrinos, the infinitesimally small particles so faint physicists used to call them "the ghost particle," have driven scientists to construct immense underground facilities simply to catch a glimpse of a single one. Now, with even the most massive detectors failing to trap certain high-energy neutrinos, astronomers have turned to a larger filter: the Moon.
An electronic circuit 100 times smaller than a hair, could help astronomers shed light on the universe's creation
By Jaya Jiwatram
Posted 07.17.2008 at 1:05 pm 1 Comment
For centuries, the creation of the universe has loomed large in human thought, cropping up in everything from ancient folklore to modern scientific theories. A newly-developed nano-sized device, 100 times smaller than the thickness of human hair and capable of detecting infrared light that dates back to the "big bang," could soon give us more food for thought concerning the galaxy's formation 14 billion years ago.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.