Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Astro-images of the day: Allen Telescope Array goes online today

Paul Allen gave $50 million to fund a new radio-telescope array for the University of California - Berkeley and the SETI Institute. It is going to be the largest array in the world at 350 individual dishes; right now it's at 42. The array acts like a single, mega-resolution telescope and is designed to detect atomic hydrogen, which incidentally is where SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) likes to use when looking for alien signals. Here's a wide view of the array and a close-up of the dishes:

Click the images to see the story.

The array acts like a single, mega-resolution telescope and is designed to detect hydrogen for its astronomy endeavors. For example, here's the Pinwheel Galaxy as seen by the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) and imaged by their computers for us to interpret:

Click the images to see the story.

Located in an arid valley near the town of Hat Creek, just north of Lassen Volcanic National Park, the ATA recently started collecting scientific data from the far reaches of the universe, opening a new era of radio astronomy. Especially cool, the ATA also is the largest telescope devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), a study that has been languishing for years since NASA cut funding. Of course, you can participate in SETI, yourself, by running SETI@Home, another project based at Berkeley.

Paul Allen has done yet another thing that makes me very happy. Before this, a couple of my favorites include the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame and the awesome Cinerama Theater in Seattle.

Tags: astronomy

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