Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Cosmic Ripples

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

When the cobe satellite in 1992 mapped the faint microwave glow left over from the Big Bang, it couldn’t make out structures as small as individual galaxies, or even clusters of galaxies. Astronomers would dearly have liked to get a glimpse of such structures to find out more about how galaxies were born. Now a team of researchers at Cambridge University in England has found a way to zoom in on the primordial structure of the universe, creating images 60 times sharper than cobe’s--from the ground. The Cosmic Anisotropy Telescope uses three antennas spaced about six feet apart to take advantage of a technique called interferometry. A newly developed computer program analyzes signals from the three antennas and filters out random signals from water vapor in the atmosphere, which are a million times stronger than the cosmic background, leaving only constant signals from cosmic microwaves. cat team leader Paul Scott says, Without interferometry, any sort of observation would be impossible at a sea-level site like Cambridge. This image shows a small section of the sky near the Big Dipper. The bright orange and white areas are regions of high density-- perhaps the seeds of what later became galaxies while the microwaves were traveling to Earth from the edge of the universe. The Cambridge team plans to build a larger version of cat in the Canary Islands in order to map these cosmic wriggles all over the sky.

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In