03/26/2016: Reflections: Looking for peace and quiet? Go to West Virginia

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I was sitting at my favorite corner table, enjoying a cup of coffee and a plate of bacon and eggs. While scanning the front page of the Record-Eagle, I noticed a man sitting alone at a table facing me. He was looking my way and talking but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. I wondered why he would be talking to me, since I had never seen him before.

As it turned out, he had a hands-free cellphone and was carrying on a conversation with someone else. The dialog continued throughout his meal. After paying the bill he took his conversation into the parking lot and probably on down the highway. I wonder if he remembered what he had eaten for breakfast. Have we become obsessed with always being electronically in touch?

Published by The Traverse City Record Eagle.  See more at: http://www.record-eagle.com/news/local_news/reflections-looking-for-peace-and-quiet-go-to-west-virginia/article_59d04495-e71f-5d8c-b2d5-2337a1aa6454.html

03/25/2016: For Some, Einstein’s Space-Time Ripples Have Yet To Break Their Silence

inside_science_2016When leaders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, announced in February the first-ever direct detection of a gravitational wave, astrophysicists Scott Ransom from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Andrea Lommen at Franklin and Marshall University in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had mixed feelings.

On the one hand, it meant that the team they and others lead, which searches for gravitational waves using radio telescopes aimed at special stars called pulsars, would not score the first detection. “We loved the idea of being kind of a dark horse,” Ransom admitted.

On the other hand, they were thrilled for their colleagues at LIGO—and for gravitational wave astronomy. “I was really excited, for a whole day I think, before I got jealous,” said Lommen. “We’ve all been working in this field that’s had no detections for 20, 30 years—and now we have a detection. People can no longer make fun of us.”

Above all, Ransom, Lommen and their colleagues hope that, like a rising tide, the excitement around the finding will boost all gravitational wave research—including their own.

Published by Inside Science.  See more at: https://www.insidescience.org/content/some-einsteins-space-time-ripples-have-yet-break-their-silence/3811

03/23/2016: AT&T uses low-power antennas to prevent cellular interference with telescope

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AT&T engineered an unusual low-power antenna system inside a radio quiet zone at a snow resort in rural West Virginia, giving thousands of daily smartphone users network access for the first time.

Work on the multimillion-dollar solution started in 2013 and took months of testing with engineers at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and staff at Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort.

The custom-designed Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network went operational in 2015 and worked well for skiers over the past winter, according to Steven Little, senior radio access network engineer at AT&T.

Little compared AT&T’s deployment of 200 different indoor and outdoor antennas working at very low power to the technology equivalent of whispering in a library to avoid disturbing others. “Nobody has anything like it other than AT&T,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

Published by Computer World.  See more at: http://www.computerworld.com/article/3047231/mobile-wireless/att-uses-low-power-antennas-to-prevent-cellular-interference-with-telescope.html

03/11/2016: Berthoud students discover space anomaly

Berthould_Students_2016Collin Miller describes the slate of speakers at the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers Western Regional Conference in Arizona this weekend: “There’s doctor this, and doctor someone, PhDs, then you have Berthoud High School STEM students.”

Miller and fellow high school senior, Xander Pickard, will present the research of a team of six Berthoud students, working under five mentors, before an international audience at the conference Saturday .

They will talk about how, using radio astronomy, they discovered that two nebula appear to be moving in two different directions at the same time. That movement would be expected if the nebula were rotating, but they were not.

The students checked their data and calculations, again and again.

Their mentors — University of Colorado research scientist Terry Bullett, science teacher Scott Kindt, Dave Eckhardt, who worked as a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Jay Wilson, who worked in telecommunications for federal agencies, and Meinte Veldhuis, president of the Little Thompson Observatory — also double checked the data, then searched journals and publications far and wide.

Published by the Colorado Register-Herald.  See more at: http://www.reporterherald.com/news/ci_29627325/berthoud-students-discover-space-anomaly

03/09/2016: All We Are is Dust in the Interstellar Wind

GMMRadio_CompWide_nraoCosmic dust is not simply something to sweep under the rug and forget about. Instead, National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded astronomers are studying and even mapping it to learn more about what it might be hiding from us, where it comes from, and what it’s turning into.

Some researchers are delving deep down to see how dust comes together at the atomic level, while others are looking at the big picture to see where stars and planets might be forming in dusty stellar nurseries. Recent discoveries, such as that of a very young galaxy containing much more dust than expected, have shown us that we still have much to learn about where exactly all this dust comes from

Published by Eureka Alert.  See more at: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/nsf-awa030916.php