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

02/25/2016: Mysterious radio burst pinpointed in distant galaxy

Cardinal_FRBs_2016For the first time, astronomers have traced an enigmatic blast of radio waves to its source.

Since 2007, astronomers have detected curious bright blasts of radio waves from the cosmos, each lasting no more than a few milliseconds. Now scientists have been able to pinpoint the source of one of these pulses: a galaxy 1.9 billion parsecs (6 billion light years) away. It probably came from two colliding neutron stars, says astronomer Evan Keane, a project scientist for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Keane, who works at the SKA Organization’s headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory outside Manchester, UK, led the team that reports the detection in Nature.

The discovery is the “measurement the field has been waiting for”, says astronomer Kiyoshi Masui of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. By finding more such fast radio bursts (FRBs) and measuring the distance to their source, astronomers hope to use the signals as beacons to shed light on the evolution of the Universe.

Published by Nature News.  See more at: http://www.nature.com/news/mysterious-radio-burst-pinpointed-in-distant-galaxy-1.19441

02/24/2016: Pulsar web could detect gravitational waves

NANOgrav_nrao_940x400Researchers are studying the best way to use pulsars to detect signals from low-frequency gravitational waves, like those from colliding supermassive black holes.

The recent detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) came from two black holes, each about 30 times the mass of our sun, merging into one. Gravitational waves span a wide range of frequencies that require different technologies to detect. A new study from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) has shown that low-frequency gravitational waves could soon be detectable by existing radio telescopes.

“Detecting this signal is possible if we are able to monitor a sufficiently large number of pulsars spread across the sky,” said Stephen Taylor, lead author of the paper published this week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. He is a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. “The smoking gun will be seeing the same pattern of deviations in all of them.” Taylor and colleagues at JPL and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have been studying the best way to use pulsars to detect signals from low-frequency gravitational waves. Pulsars are highly magnetized neutron stars, the rapidly rotating cores of stars left behind when a massive star explodes as a supernova.

Published by Astronomy Magazine.  See more at: http://www.astronomy.com/news/2016/02/pulsar-web-could-detect-gravitational-waves