University of Chicago doctoral student Tyler Natoli spoke to the United Methodist Men of the First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake Saturday morning about his stay in Antarctica.
He has just returned.
He is part of the team that built and is operating the microwave telescope at the South Pole.
Helping interpret the captured data as well, I would assume.
10,000 feet above see level set on about two miles of ice, the telescope measures waves from within 300,000 years of the 13,7 billion year-old universe.
Take a look at the telescope specifications:
The telescope was custom-built by University of Chicago personnel in cooperation with Argon Laboratory in suburban Chicago.
Natoli explained the path of the microwaves into the telescope. There are two mirrors, two bounces to the receptors.
The receptors are gold plated and work like a digital camera.
The astrophysics lecture was about the Big Bang Theory.
Part travel log and part science lecture, physicist Natoli introduced a new concept to this science-impaired listener:
There were multiple, simultaneous Big Bangs.
“In every direction, we see the Big Bang happened. We can see that it happened in every point in space,”Natoli explained.
He said that the space between the points are moving away from each other as the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate.
Why’s the telescope at the South Pole?
First, because the atmosphere is thinnest there and, second, because it is a desert without water in the air.
He explained how a microwave oven heats up and agitates the molecules of water in the food being cooked. The relative lack of water in the atmosphere above the South Pole allows the least interference with the microwaves coming from space.
Why not put the telescope in space?
It takes ten years to test what is sent up in space so a telescope sent there is ten years behind cutting edge technology.
And it can’t be repaired.
Those two problems do not exist at the South Pole.