Peeping Tom’s in space.

It seems that scientists have been peeking under the covers of the Universe again.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the Australian equivalent to NASA, has been using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) radio telescope to detect the raw material used for making the first stars in galaxies that formed when the Universe was just three billion years old.

ATCA, located near Narrabri, NSW, is one of the only telescopes in the world that can perform this type of detection.  The radio telescope has both the sensitive and it is tuned to the right wavelengths to detect the raw material scientists are interested in finding.

ATCA has been looking for cold molecular hydrogen gas, H2.  It is believed that this gas is the raw material for making stars.  Making things even more difficult, H2 can’t be detected directly but only by observing a ‘tracer’ gas, carbon monoxide (CO), that emits radio waves indicating the present of H2.

Scientists have been using ATCA to study a massive, distant structure, called the Spiderweb, that is more than ten thousand million light-years away (10,000,000,000,000ly).

One team of scientists found at least sixty thousand million (60,000,000,000) solar masses of cold molecular hydrogen gas over a quarter of a million light-years (250,000ly), speculate that the cold molecular hydrogen is the star forming fuel for the region.  They also estimate that there is enough hydrogen in the region to form stars for the next 40 million years.

Using ACTA and the newly operational Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile, scientists can look for more of the H2 and make new discoveries from the distant past of the Universe.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +


Getting Ready for the Eclipse

Dateline, May 20, 2012.  Where: western United States.  ITS COMING! No, not the end of the world or the Mayan calendar, just a great opportunity to view an annular eclipse.  What is an annular eclipse you ask?  Well, according to Wikipedia: An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moon’s apparent diameter is smaller than the Sun, causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring), blocking most of the Sun’s light. An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region thousands of kilometres wide.  In other words, it looks like the image at the top of the post or this one:

Solar annular eclipse of January 15, 2010 in J...

Solar annular eclipse of January 15, 2010 in Jinan, Republic of China. Français : Éclipse solaire de type annulaire du 15 janvier 2010 à Jinan, République de Chine. Tiếng Việt: Nhật thực hình khuyên diễn ra ngày 15 tháng 1 năm 2010 tại Tể Nam, Cộng hòa Nhân dân Trung Hoa. 中文: 2010年1月15日日環食,中國濟南. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The moon doesn’t completely block the sun, so there is a ring.  I will be traveling to get the best vantage I can for the event and for some astrophotography as well.  The timing of the eclipse just happens to be on a new moon weekend.  Barring any clouds or bad weather, it looks to be spectacular.

This will help me get ready for the total eclipse on November 13 in Australia.  I can’t wait to go back to Australia.  I highly recommend a trip if you haven’t been there before.  The people are great and the country is beautiful.

A word of warning!!! Never look directly at the Sun, it will blind you!  Google eclipse for ways to safely view an eclipse.

– Ex astris, scientia — Ex astris, scientia –

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