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Sunday, September 09, 2007

First Light: Windows To A New View of Space

There is a saying in telescope construction: “First Light”.

It is at that moment when one finds out if all the work will have a reward. It can be so much work. Just now, while a retrospective of Pavaroti ran on CBS, my radio telescope mapping program got its first light. I am visualizing the Ukrainian UTR-2 Radio Source Catalog.

Here are two pictures showing the sky as we used to see it, and the radio sky as we can now see it.
This is very rough, and maybe even wrong, but it shows that all the pieces can talk to each other, and that is the hard part.

Here is what the sky looked like before:

Here is “after” the first light. Each red window is a radio source. I promise to improve this, but it’s a start. There are 12,000 observations from over 2000 galaxies, quasars and galaxy clusters emitting on frequencies you can hear on a short wave radio 10 – 25 MHz. Hopefully we can do that too!

It is so exciting! Thanks to all the astronomers in the Ukraine and the engineers at Google who made my work visualizing the UTR-2 catalog possible.

Rosette Nebulae with Ukraine 10-20 Mhz Radio Windows