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Space Science

Stars Billions Of Years Old Drop Big Clue To Early Universe ( 20

Astronomers have picked up a radio signal from the moment the lights went on in the universe billions of years ago, and they've discovered some surprises embedded in it. No, not aliens, but potential evidence of something just as mysterious and elusive. From a report: Using a sensitive antenna only about the size of a table in the Australian desert, scientists managed to isolate the very faint signal of primordial hydrogen, part of the cosmic afterglow from the Big Bang. But the ancient signal from this basic building block of the universe also carries the imprint of some of the first light from the very first stars ever. "This is the first real signal that stars are starting to form, and starting to affect the medium around them," Alan Rogers, a scientist at MIT's Haystack Observatory, said in a statement. "What's happening in this period is that some of the radiation from the very first stars is starting to allow hydrogen to be seen. It's causing hydrogen to start absorbing the background radiation, so you start seeing it in silhouette, at particular radio frequencies." Rogers is a co-author of a paper on the work published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
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Stars Billions Of Years Old Drop Big Clue To Early Universe

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  • So... how big is a table in the Australian desert?

    • A ball of string could go around it approximately ten times if that gives you a better idea of its actual size.

    • So... how big is a table

      Well, I've personally been to the Library of Congress, and they have about 100 tables there. So a table is about 0.01 LoC.

      In Australia, it would 0.01 LoC mate.

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      The real question is will the table try to kill you, as do most things in Australia.
    • The real question is how such an Australian table will try to kill you.

    • by rossdee ( 243626 )

      "how big is a table in the Australian desert?"

      Big enough to seat 4 people I suppose
      One 'Jolly Swag man' and 3 'troopers'

  • Stars that old would have had plastic surgery by now . . .

  • by careysub ( 976506 ) on Sunday March 04, 2018 @04:16PM (#56206769)

    Lots of people here fixated on Australian tables (I've visited, they have nice tables).

    No discussion of any of the actual findings though.

    So far Dark Matter appears to interact only through the gravitational force, even with itself.

    If, as this study suggests, "only cooling of the gas as a result of interactions between dark matter and baryons seems to explain the observed amplitude" and that interaction is anything other than a purely gravitational one, it will be the first evidence of Dark Matter interacting at all except through gravity. That could make this a really big deal. In about five years the first phase of the Square Kilometer Array should be able to greatly expand our ability to investigate this.

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner