Three giant telescopes will help to see young Universe




# Fiction | Three giant telescopes will help to see the young Universe March 13, 2013

Giant Magellan Telescope

Layout Giant Magellan Telescope. One of the three giants, which will be built in over a decade.

The universe holds many old and carefully guarded secrets. But with three extremely large telescopes, each with a mirror, the size of several tennis courts, some of the secrets can be revealed. On the properties of dark matter before the universe was formed after the Big Bang , and other interesting things that are so interested scientists may become more known to the completion of the huge “eye” peering into space.

Scientists have high hopes that competing telescopes – which will be operational in the next ten years – will be able to see the nascent universe: from the whole hot and cold start to the structured state, where matter is concentrated within the object, and the light began to walk in space.

“We are talking about the range of 100 million to 500 million years after the creation of the universe. This is the time when the first stars were born, the chemical elements, and black holes, and other mysterious objects “- says Gerry Gilmore, an astronomer at Cambridge University.

Giant telescopes to look into the past (but not move , it should be noted), when the first light emitted by objects. The universe exploded like a balloon after the Big Bang, and some places have formed so far away, now just come first gleam of light from their sources. The study of this light will reveal the structure and chemical composition of the first objects in the universe that Hubble has captured before there were first theory, postulating their existence. Qualitative observation, is likely to lead to the emergence of new hypotheses about the appearance of space and time. May shed light on what happened before the Big Bang .

Costs for building monster telescopes range from 900 million to 1.6 billion dollars each: Giant Magellan Telescope (Giant Magellan Telescope, GMT), Tridtsatimetrovy Telescope (Thirty Meter Telescope, TMT) and the European Very Large Telescope (European Extremely Large Telescope , E-ELT). Telescopes will be equipped with mirrors 24.5, 30 and 39.3 meters respectively – which significantly exceeds the performance of all currently existing optical telescopes. The largest of the modern telescopes is 10.4 meters in diameter. A new generation of “earthly eyes” will be 5-200 times higher than the previous power, depending on the task.

Universities, government agencies and other research organizations around the world were quick to donate to one of the selected projects, thus reserving for itself the time of the telescope in the future, says Patrick McCarthy, an astronomer at the Carnegie Observatories in California. Share of operating time will provide facilities for the coming decades.

“If you [Astronomy] no money, you have to do something else in order to stay afloat,” – says McCarthy.

Although all three projects are still in need of funding, they are already in the initial phase of construction. Engineers GMT cleared for themselves rocky plateau in Chile last spring. In October, they finished installing the first of seven curves mirror segments that will be eye telescope. A TMT and E-ELT (which will be built in Hawaii and Chile, respectively) while experiencing the test mirror. All three groups have already started working on the equipment.


Layout E-ELT.

Similar schedules promise tough competition, and yet, although each telescope boasts a unique advantage in size and design, no worry about which one is first put into operation.

“We are confident that he will remain a lot of things that you can open in space, and even if you are late for three years, you will not lose a billion dollars”, – said David Silva, Director of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona, which is funded National Science Foundation. He also talks about a possible partnership with the TMT in the future.

Telescopes will be powerful enough to see the bustle and noise of other worlds.

“The study of exoplanets – is an area where we hardly vskopnuli surface, and it will crack an egg shell as soon as we activate the telescopes,” – said Roger Angel, an astronomer at the University of Arizona, vigil for installing mirrors on GMT.

We recall not so long ago, scientists found the smallest exoplanet . What they see on the surface, if you look, for example, in the eye of GMT?

Telescopes will observe the spectral changes that talk about the seasons – and, hence, the active atmosphere – on planets orbiting stars. They may even tease our curiosity to discover the chemical wastes of extraterrestrial life.

“I think that at the biochemical level evidence of life everywhere the same,” – says McCarthy. While the rover Kyuriositi looking for traces, digging on the surface of Mars (by the way, not without success ) – “We will do the same remotely using the spectroscopy of exoplanets.”

The ability to track the formation of galaxies and clusters of matter in space will help to establish new restrictions properties of dark matter – the invisible clusters of particles, which is 84% ​​of the matter in the universe.

Monitoring events in the most extreme conditions in the universe – at the edge of supermassive black holes, which insanely worried scientists – will help them to check the laws of general relativity and quantum mechanics with unprecedented accuracy.

“We will look at the radiation that produce dying stars absorbed by the black hole,” – says Gilmore. – “There are photons emitted by one or in small bunches – it will shed light on the structure of space-time around a black hole.” Previously this was not possible, because “you would have to live next door to a black hole (and what will be – see here ), or to observe a very, very high-resolution. ”

The next generation of telescopes rely on a technology called adaptive optics. It eliminates the distorting effects of the Earth’s turbulent atmosphere to incoming light.

“You are using lasers to create artificial stars in the sky, and then use them as tools for analysis of turbulence, standing in the way of the telescope line of sight” – explains Silva.

Turbulence detection is estimated tens of times every second so that the curves of the mirror inside the telescope can not be confused in the atmospheric distortion. Small telescopes, including the ten-meter Keck telescopes in Hawaii, are already using adaptive optics. But here the scaling of this technology for use on telescopes are two to four times the diameter “is at the limit or beyond the calculations in real time,” says astronomer.

Adaptive optics in action.

If the technology will work as planned, GMT, TMT and E-ELT will work with optical and near-infrared light – the predominant types of electromagnetic radiation in the universe – just as clearly as if it were in orbit. James Webb Space Telescope, to be launched in 2018 for five years and costs more than $ 8 billion, will add the observatory better sensitivity in the middle and far infrared. But space telescopes are generally more expensive and less reliable than their terrestrial counterparts.

“It is possible that the ground-based telescopes will be able to work up to 50 years”, – said Silva.

At the same time, the three telescopes could revolutionize astronomy, physics and cosmology. In addition to the planned experiments, the researchers are hoping to find something new, for example, related to the fact that, according to recent observations, dark energy pervades the entire universe through.

“When the new telescopes will earn” – says McCarthy – “we will spend a bit of time just looking at the blank piece of the sky, to see what we have never seen before.”

If you are interested in reading about the best observatories and telescopes, earthlings, available today, be sure to check out here and here .

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