Tag Archives: Astronomy

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World’s Largest Terrestrial Radio Telescope, ALMA Opens It’s Eyes…

The human senses are a marvel of natural design but they are limited by their physical qualities. Perfectly adapted to life on the surface of the planet Earth, not so great if you want to listen to faint stars on the other side of the universe.

Luckily enough one of humanities greatest survival techniques is making use of other sensory systems. Whether it be listening for the bark of a guard dog to pointing the largest telescope in the world at just the right bit of the sky humanity has always made use of tools to extend our senses.

The latest addition to our extra sensory abilities is the Worlds Largest Millimeter / Sub-Millimeter Radio Telescope in Chile, The Atacama Large Millimeter/sub millimeter Array – ALMA – sits upon the high planes of the Chajnantor plateau in northern Chile. At an altitude of 5000 meters.in the middle of an isolated plateau the ALMA telescope has one of the clearest sky to look through. The array itself consists of 66 individual radio telescopes networked together, with their combined power being pointed at a single point they are able to produce the highest resolution images possible of the furthest reaches of our universe. Helping us look at the coldest darkest parts of the Universe with new clarity. ALMA joins other great names such as Hubble and SDO in our list of most valuable scientific instruments, or was that most popular scientific instruments.

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Dust and Debris, The Middle Mystery of Planet Formation…

How did this rocky outpost of life we call ‘Earth’ form, what process is capable of turning space dust and rubble into this picturesque blue planet we call home.

Science has a fairly good understanding of the beginning and end of the life-cycle of solar systems and their planets but the middle bit is still a huge mystery. How we go from a dusty cloud to what we on Earth a used to seeing, a working solar system that’s the question. A number of recent discoveries are helping us shape our understanding of this process, the formation of planets. Central to this new understanding is the information being collected by many radio telescopes and satellites. With these new modern tools we are seeing for the first time this process in action. Discoveries are also being made in unexpected places, theories are being expanded or replaced faster than ever.

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