Archive for February 17, 2012

New Tools Unveiling Astronomical Mysteries

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Image Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

Image Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF

Two new and powerful research tools are helping astronomers gain key insights needed to transform our understanding of important processes across the breadth of astrophysics. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), and the newly-expanded Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) offer scientists vastly improved and unprecedented capabilities for frontier research.

The cutting-edge research enabled by these powerful telescope systems extends from unlocking the mysteries of star- and planet-formation processes in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, to probing the emergence of the first stars and galaxies at the Universe’s “cosmic dawn,” and along the way helping scientists figure out where Earth’s water came from.

A trio of scientists outlined recent accomplishments of ALMA and the Jansky VLA, both of which are in the “early science” phase of their development, as construction progresses toward their completion. The astronomers spoke to the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

One exciting area where the two facilities are expected to unlock longstanding mysteries is the study of how new stars and planets form, in our own Milky Way Galaxy and in its nearby neighbors.

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