The South Pole Telescope
The South Pole Telescope (SPT) is a 10-meter-diameter telescope located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. This cold, dry location facilitates observations of the faint cosmic microwave background.
The SPT was specifically designed to tackle the dark energy mystery. It operates at millimeter wavelengths to make high-resolution images of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) which scientists use in their search for distant, massive galaxy clusters that can be used to pinpoint the properties of dark energy and the mass of the neutrino.
Analysis of new data from the SPT is currently providing new support for the most widely accepted explanation of dark energy and Einstein’s cosmological constant. With this data set scientists will be able to place extremely tight constraints on dark energy and possibly determine the mass of the neutrinos.
A series of papers detailing the SPT findings have been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal (see ApJ, 2011, 743, 28 led by Ryan Keisler, http://arxiv.org/abs/1112.5435 led by Benson, and http://arxiv.org/abs/1203.5775 led by Christian Reichardt). [via]
Above: (1) The South Pole Telescope (SPT) at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. (2) This image displays a portion of the South Pole Telescope survey of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Points of light mark quasars and gravitationally lensed galaxies. The variations in the image are minute fluctuations in the intensity of the CMB. The fluctuations are caused by differences in the distribution of matter in the early universe at a time only 400,000 years after the Big Bang. The image is effectively a “baby picture” of the universe.
Posts tagged "Antarctica"
Enormous Crack Found in West Antarctica
Feb. 1, 2012 — NASA’s Terra Earth-observing satellite captured this image of Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica on Nov. 13, 2011, after a research team discovered a huge 19-mile (30-km) -long crack running across it.
Members of the Operation IceBridge mission spotted the crack during a DC-8 flight over Pine Island Glacier (PIG) on Oct. 14, 2011. It’s estimated to be up to 260 feet (80 meters) wide and 195 feet (60 meters) deep.
Eventually the crack will shear the glacier off completely, creating an ice island spanning 350 square miles (900 sq. km).
(via rossexton)Source news.discovery.com
The weird and real animals that inhabit Antarctica
Ask anyone to name an Antarctic land animal, and chances are the response will be, “penguin.” Try again.Source mothernaturenetwork
This eerie and mysterious blood-red waterfall is located in remote Antarctica. The red color is partially the result of saltwater tainted with iron oxide, but the real mystery of these falls is what lives in the water. Water samples contain almost no oxygen, but at least 17 different types of alien-like microbes have been identified slithering around in the blood-like water. Scientists surmise that they survive via a metabolic process never observed in nature that utilizes sulfate as a respiratory catalyst with ferric ions, metabolizing trace levels of ancient organic matter trapped underneath Antarctica’s vast glaciers.
Check out some of the planet’s most amazing waterfalls.Source mothernaturenetwork
Crocodile Icefish (Channichthyidae)
… a family of perciform fish found in the cold waters around Antarctica and southern South America. Water temperature can drop below 0°C (the freezing point of freshwater) in the Antarctic sea, but, stays rather constant. There are sixteen known species of crocodile icefish. They feed on krill, copepods, and other fish.
Their blood is transparent because it contains less than 10% hemoglobin and/or only defunct erythrocytes. Oxygen is absorbed directly through their scaleless skin from the water. It is then dissolved in the plasma and transported throughout the body without the hemoglobin protein. The loss of hemoglobin is not fatal because of the cold environment in which channichthyids live. Cold water has a much higher dissolved oxygen content than warmer water…
(read more: Wikipedia) (pictured: larval Icefish)
(via strangeoldthings)Source rhamphotheca
The Matusevich Glacier flows toward the coast of East Antarctica, pushing through a channel between the Lazarev Mountains and the northwestern tip of the Wilson Hills. Constrained by surrounding rocks, the river of ice holds together. But stresses resulting from the glacier’s movement make deep crevasses, or cracks, in the ice. After passing through the channel, the glacier has room to spread out as it floats on the ocean. The expanded area and the jostling of ocean waves prompts the ice to break apart, which it often does along existing crevasses.
(via infinity-imagined)Source farm5.static.flickr.com