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Alcohol in Space?


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#1    frogfish

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 04:12 PM

Quote

Merlin sees vast alcohol stream  
By Jonathan Amos
BBC News science reporter, in Leicester  



The giant Lovell Telescope is at Merlin's hub
Astronomers using the Merlin network of UK radio telescopes have spied a stream of alcohol gas that stretches for 463 million km (288 million miles).

It was seen in the constellation of Cassiopeia, in a region where hot, young stars are forming.

The methanol was relatively easy to spot because of the way its molecules were being excited by infrared light.

But the new star that was the source of the radiation was not directly visible, being obscured by a huge cloud of dust.

This is an occupational hazard for scientists studying "stellar nurseries"; the objects they most want to look at are hidden away in the early stages of the birthing process.

The observations of an area on the sky known as W3(OH) mark an important progression for the Multi-Element Radio-Linked Interfometer Network (Merlin).

The array of seven radio telescopes, with the famous 76m (250ft) Lovell Dish at Jodrell Bank as its lead, is in the midst of an 8m upgrade designed to improve its sensitivity and data transfer capabilities.

"The e-Merlin upgrade is happening right now," said Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith, who was the principal investigator on the W3(OH) study.

"The telescopes are getting fibre-optic links and they've got new receivers; and this discovery was the first observation made with the new receivers. It proves that it all works and it's great to see," she told the BBC News website.

Radio telescopes are important astronomical tools because they are better able to penetrate the clouds of dust and gas that hamper observations at other frequencies.

W3(OH)'s alcohol stream, although excited by infrared starlight, can be seen clearly by Merlin because the methanol molecules emit light at microwave wavelengths when they lose energy.

Dr Harvey-Smith spoke about her work and that of Merlin here are the Royal Astronomical Society's Nation Astronomy Meeting, hosted this year by Leicester University.



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#2    Glacies

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 06:02 PM

wow...with a title of "alcohol in space" i'd have expected a few more posts...fascinating to read about. but i myself would prefer a large glass of chocolate milk to a six pack any day. still, fascinating to read about.

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#3    Raptor

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 06:11 PM

Must have had a long time to ferment. tongue.gif


#4    frogfish

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 08:46 PM

It's methanol...No need to ferment. original.gif

Edited by frogfish, 10 April 2006 - 01:16 AM.

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#5    Raptor

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 08:57 PM

I was joking. laugh.gif

Edited by Raptor X7, 09 April 2006 - 08:58 PM.


#6    frogfish

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 09:01 PM

I know yes.gif

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#7    Stellar

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 01:13 AM

No... its methanol. I'd like to see someone try and drink that.

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#8    frogfish

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 01:16 AM

Whoops, forgot the m...


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#9    kaknelson

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 05:20 AM

alcahol in space huh? I always thought it would be cool to smoke a blunt in space, cuz the smoke would just stay there lol... grin2.gif........ im serious by the way; i know its a bit off topic.

Edited by Kaknelson, 10 April 2006 - 05:46 AM.

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