Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Kent astronomers tune in to ‘Radio Universe’

10.09.2008
Astronomers at the School of Physical Sciences, University of Kent, have joined an innovative project that aims to address many of the key issues in astrophysics.

These include: what is the universe made of and how does it evolve? Are we alone in the universe? How do galaxies, stars and planets form and evolve? What are the laws of physics in extreme conditions? And how does the sun affect the earth? The University’s main role will be to search for signals which accompany the birth of stars.

Such an undertaking will require the completion of arrays of antennas to detect radio waves at metre-long wavelengths. The low frequencies of these waves gives rise to the telescope by the name of LOFAR – the LOw Frequency ARray. The arrays will be spread across the Netherlands, Germany, France and Great Britain.

The processing of the data will be done by a supercomputer situated at the University of Groningen and further radio telescopes may be constructed at sites in Poland, Sweden, Ireland and Ukraine.

Michael Smith, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Kent, said: ‘The LOFAR project has been launched to advance upon instrumentation based on the old 1960s technologies of radio telescopes that used large mechanical dishes to collect signals which were then detected by a receiver for analysis.

‘Even if scientists continued to use the old technologies, the instruments for this project would need to be one hundred times larger than existing ones, which is cost prohibitive as a high proportion of the outlay on these telescopes is the steel and moving structure. Therefore, new technology was required to make the next step in sensitivity necessary to unravel the secrets of the early universe, the physical processes in the centres of galaxies, and the formation of quasars, stars and planets.’

LOFAR is the first telescope of this new sort, using an array of simple omni-directional antennas instead of mechanical signal processing with a dish. The electronic signals from the antennas are digitised, transported to a central digital processor, and combined in software to emulate a conventional antenna.

Gary Hughes | alfa
Further information:
http://www.kent.ac.uk
http://www.kent.ac.uk/news

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars? New research says look for the element vanadium
22.09.2017 | University of Kansas

nachricht Calculating quietness
22.09.2017 | Forschungszentrum MATHEON ECMath

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>