Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find clue to start of universe

02.09.2005


Photo / Alan Rogers, Haystack Observatory - Close-up view of the crossed dipole elements of the array used to detect deuterium at radio wavelengths at MIT’s Haystack Observatory in Westford


If you want to hear a little bit of the Big Bang, you’re going to have to turn down your stereo.

That’s what neighbors of MIT’s Haystack Observatory found out. They were asked to make a little accommodation for science, and now the results are in: Scientists at Haystack have made the first radio detection of deuterium, an atom that is key to understanding the beginning of the universe. The findings are being reported in an article in the Sept. 1 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The team of scientists and engineers, led by Alan E.E. Rogers, made the detection using a radio telescope array designed and built at the MIT research facility in Westford, Mass. Rogers is currently a senior research scientist and associate director of the Haystack Observatory.



After gathering data for almost one year, a solid detection was obtained on May 30.

The detection of deuterium is of interest because the amount of deuterium can be related to the amount of dark matter in the universe, but accurate measurements have been elusive. Because of the way deuterium was created in the Big Bang, an accurate measurement of deuterium would allow scientists to set constraints on models of the Big Bang.

Also, an accurate measurement of deuterium would be an indicator of the density of cosmic baryons, and that density of baryons would indicate whether ordinary matter is dark and found in regions such as black holes, gas clouds or brown dwarfs, or is luminous and can be found in stars. This information helps scientists who are trying to understand the very beginning of our universe.

Until now the deuterium atom has been extremely difficult to detect with instruments on Earth. Emission from the deuterium atom is weak since it is not very abundant in space-there is approximately one deuterium atom for every 100,000 hydrogen atoms, thus the distribution of the deuterium atom is diffuse. Also, at optical wavelengths the hydrogen line is very close to the deuterium line, which makes it subject to confusion with hydrogen; but at radio wavelengths, deuterium is well separated from hydrogen and measurements can provide more consistent results.

In addition, our modern lifestyle, filled with gadgets that use radio waves, presented quite a challenge to the team trying to detect the weak deuterium radio signal. Radio frequency interference bombarded the site from cell phones, power lines, pagers, fluorescent lights, TV, and in one case from a telephone equipment cabinet where the doors had been left off. To locate the interference, a circle of yagi antennas was used to indicate the direction of spurious signals, and a systematic search for the RFI sources began.

At times, Rogers asked for help from Haystack’s neighbors, and in several instances replaced a certain brand of answering machine that was sending out a radio signal with one that did not interfere with the experiment. The interference caused by one person’s stereo system was solved by having a part on the sound card replaced by the factory.

The other members of the team working with Rogers are Kevin Dudevoir, Joe Carter, Brian Fanous and Eric Kratzenberg (all of Haystack Observatory) and Tom Bania of Boston University.

The Deuterium Array at Haystack is a soccer-field size installation conceived and built at the Haystack facility with support from the National Science Foundation, MIT and TruePosition Inc.

Madeleine Needles | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.haystack.mit.edu
http://www.mit.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>