To those familiar with optical telescopes, the idea of doing something to achieve higher resolution with their telescope may seem alien, if not, then practically impossible. A telescopes resolution is determined by among other things, its aperture – diameter of the thing that collects light (or electromagnetic radiation) and of course you can’t easily change that. Enter the team at ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array who have become the first to use the Band 10 receiver and extreme separation of the receivers to boosting its resolution so they can see detail equivalent of detecting a 10 meter long bus on the Moon!
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (otherwise known as ALMA) is based upon interferometer technology which, in its simplest terms, takes a number of telescopes, hooks them together and gives them the same amount of resolution as if the instrument was the same diameter as the distance between the component parts! If that blew your mind then let me explain; think of having one 20cm telescope in my home city of Norwich in United Kingdom and another in New York in the USA. Individually the telescopes are 20cm diameter and have resolution based on that but their separation is 5,263km and if you manage to hook them together as an interferometer then together, they would yield a resolution equivalent to a telescope with a diameter of 5,263km! Somewhat better than if they operated individually.
ALMA Site from Above (Credit : ESO)
ALMA is not an optical telescope though, it is radio telescope array of 66 individual instruments either 12m or 7m in diameter and can stretch out across the Atacama desert with over 16km between receivers. The system is a wonderful international partnership between the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Chile and cost about $1.4 billion USD to install. The receivers were installed in the first few years of the 21st Century and it became operational in 2011, operating at an altitude of 5,000m. They operate in the millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths meaning they can pierce through molecular dust clouds and study the furthest reaches of the Cosmos.
A team from the Joint ALMA Observatory in Chile, the National Astronomical Observatory in Japan, National Radio Astronomy Observatory in USA and European Southern Observatory have recently pushed the array to its limits. How can a telescope increase resolution? Make its collecting area bigger and in the case of an interferometer, increase the separation between the receivers and that’s just what the team did by extending the separation of the receivers to their maximum. They were also able to use the Band 10 receivers giving ALMA the ability to reach frequencies as high as 950 GHz, the highest it can achieve.
The Band 10 receivers are not particularly new though, they have been available at ALMA since 2014 but have not been used before. The team needed to use a relatively new technique called band to band calibration which involves cancelling out fluctuations from the atmosphere through observing a calibration object in low frequency waves while the target object is observed in high frequency. They used the technique to successfully observe R Leporis, a star in the Milky Way with the results having just been being published in the Asrophysical Journal in a paper called “ALMA High Frequency Long Baseline Campaign 2021: Highest Angular Resolution Submillimeter Wave Images for the Carbon-Rich Star R Lep”.
Source : ALMA achieves its highest resolution observations
The post A New Technique Has Dramatically Improved ALMA’s Resolution appeared first on Universe Today.
Did you miss our previous article…
The International Space Station Celebrates 25 Years in Space
NASA recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the International Space Station (ISS) with a space-to-Earth call between the 7-person Expedition 70 crew and outgoing NASA Associate Administrator, Bob Cabana, and ISS Program Manager, Joel Montalbano. On December 6, 1998, the U.S.-built Unity module and the Russian-built Zarya module were mated in the Space Shuttle Endeavour cargo bay, as Endeavour was responsible for launching Unity into orbit that same day, with Zarya having waited in orbit after being launched on November 20 from Kazakhstan.
“I cannot believe it was 25 years ago today that we grappled Zarya and joined it with the Unity node,” said Cabana during the call from NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “Absolutely amazing.”
While this milestone marks 25 years since the first two ISS modules were attached, it would be another two years until the ISS had a crew, Expedition 1, which arrived at the ISS in November 2000 and stayed until March 2001, beginning an uninterrupted human presence on the ISS that continues today. During the two-year period between the first mating and Expedition 1, the Russian-built Zvedza module was attached to the Unity and Zarya modules on July 26, 2000, after launching from Kazakhstan two weeks earlier. Assembly of the large modules of the ISS would continue until 2021 when the Roscosmos-funded Nauka module was attached in July 2021.
Now in its final configuration, the ISS is approximately the size of an American gridiron football field consisting of 8 solar arrays that provide the station’s power while maintaining an average altitude of 400 kilometers (250 miles). Its massive size consists of a pressurized module length along the major axis of 67 meters (218 feet), a truss (primary body) length of 94 meters (310 feet), a solar array length (measured along the truss) of 73 meters (239 feet), and a total mass of 419,725 kilograms (925,335 pounds).
Artist rendition of the ISS compared to an American gridiron football field. (Credit: NASA)
Image of the ISS taken by SpaceX Crew-2 mission on November 8, 2021 after it successfully undocked from the ISS Harmony module. (Credit: NASA)
Ever since the 3-person Expedition 1 crew first took command of the ISS, a total of 273 individuals from 21 countries have visited the orbiting laboratory and have been comprised of trained astronauts and private visitors. From most visitors to least, the following visitor countries include the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Great Britain, Israel, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, and Sweden.
“One of my favorite aspects of the International Space Station is the international part of it,” said NASA Astronaut and Expedition 70 Flight Engineer, Jasmin Moghbeli, during the call. “We each bring our unique perspectives, not just from our different nationalities, but also our different backgrounds. I think we’re definitely strengthened by the international partnership. It’s just like gaining redundancy when you have multiple partners working together. It’s stronger and more resilient to any sort of problems or obstacles that come our way and so it definitely makes us stronger. And I think that’s why we have had the International Space Station up here for 25 years now.”
Starship | Second Flight Test
On November 18, 2023, Starship successfully lifted off at 7:02 a.m. CT from Starbase on its second integrated flight test.
While it didn’t happen in a lab or on a test stand, it was absolutely a test. What we did with this second flight will provide invaluable data to continue rapidly developing Starship.
The test achieved a number of major milestones, helping us improve Starship’s reliability as SpaceX seeks to make life multiplanetary. The team at Starbase is already working final preparations on the vehicles slated for use in Starship’s third flight test.
Congratulations to the entire SpaceX team on an exciting second flight test of Starship!
Follow us on X.com/SpaceX for continued updates on Starship’s progress
Did you miss our previous article…
For its Final Trick, Chandrayaan-3 Brings its Propulsion Module to Earth Orbit
On August 23, ISRO’s Vikram lander detached from its propulsion module and made a soft landing near the Moon’s south pole region. The lander then deployed its Pragyan rover, and for two weeks the endearing little solar-powered rover performed marvelously, detecting water ice and characterizing the makeup of the lunar regolith before succumbing to the darkness and cold of the lunar night.
But since the rover mission ended, the propulsion module that brought it to the Moon has made a detour, performing a series of complex maneuvers that took it from a tight lunar orbit back to Earth orbit. This was possible because the module still had more than 100 kg of fuel, allowing scientists to conduct additional maneuvers and experiments.
Right now, the propulsion module (PM) is orbiting Earth at an altitude of 115,000 km (71,500 miles), well above geostationary orbit. ISRO said the mission team decided to use the available fuel in the propulsion module to derive additional information for future lunar missions. More specifically, this demonstration gave them the chance to test mission operation strategies for a future sample return mission.
A graphic of the Chandrayaan-3 lander separating from the propulsion module. Credit: ISRO.
The PM has had a busy and productive mission. While in lunar orbit for about a month, it wasn’t just taking it easy. After the separation of the lander, the PM operated an on-board experiment, the Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload, designed to observe the Earth. Specifically, this instrument also provided scientists and engineers experience for future missions and research as its purpose was to study habitable planet-like features of Earth. These observations will be used by ISRO for future studies of exoplanets. Additionally, there was a special operation of the SHAPE payload on October 28, 2023 during the solar eclipse.
But because the spacecraft had such a precise orbit injection and optimal burn maneuvers, the amount of leftover fuel meant the engineers could do even more with the PM than originally expected. The PM was commanded to execute an orbit-raising maneuver at the Moon and then perform a Trans-Earth injection burn, which placed the PM in an Earth-bound orbit.
ISRO said the first orbit raising maneuver at the Moon was performed on October 9, 2023 to raise apolune altitude to 5,112 km from 150 km. The Trans-Earth injection (TEI) maneuver was performed on October 13, 2023, and as its orbit was slowly raised, the PM made four Moon flybys before departing Moon on November 10.
Currently, propulsion module is orbiting Earth with an orbital period of nearly 13 days, at 27 degrees inclination. Because of this high orbit, ISRO said there is no threat of close approach with any operational Earth orbiting satellites.
ISRO said these extra operations allowed them to plan and execute trajectory maneuvers to return from Moon to Earth, as well as develop software to plan and validate the maneuvers. They also planned and executed a gravity assisted flyby between two celestial bodies and, most notably they avoided an uncontrolled crash into the Moon’s surface at the end of the life of PM, which met the requirements of creating no debris on the Moon.
Will its current high geostationary orbit be the Chandrayaan-3 PM’s final trick? Who knows? The resourceful engineers might figure out another way to make use of this multi-purpose spacecraft.
The post For its Final Trick, Chandrayaan-3 Brings its Propulsion Module to Earth Orbit appeared first on Universe Today.
M Brand19 hours ago
Discover Natural Remedies For Enlarged Prostate vs Pharmaceuticals
M Brand4 days ago
Discover The Benefits Of Improving Problem Solving Skills In Everyday Life
Baller Awards6 days ago
Hollywood Creative Alliance Renames Award Shows to Astra Awards
Baller Awards4 days ago
Geoff Keighley invites you to The Game Awards 2023. Watch the impressive trailer for the event
Travel4 days ago
Tips for Solo Female Travel in Sri Lanka
Frontier Adventure4 days ago
Europa Clipper Could Help Discover if Jupiter’s Moon is Habitable
Baller Awards5 days ago
Randeep Hooda and Lin Laishram share dreamy new pics from their wedding ceremony
Grooming4 days ago
ONE Cologne Men Should Buy? Jeremy Fragrance Recommendations