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text 2014-07-19 06:50
Science Breakthroughs The Koyal Group InfoMag News Starwatch: The European Extremely Large Telescope


Our image shows an artist's impression of the European Extremely Large Telescope, or E-ELT, whose 39-metre aperture puts it in line to be the world's largest optical-infrared telescope. Being built by the European Southern Observatory, it will cost in excess of 1bn euros, including a British contribution of £88m. Explosions began in June to create a level home for it atop the 3000-metre peak of Cerro Armazones in the Chilean Andes, overlooking the Atacama Desert.


It could be another ten years before the E-ELT is fully operational. By then, the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT), may have seized the crown. albeit temporarily, as the world's biggest. Built by a US-led consortium that includes India, China and Japan, work to place it on Mauna Kea in Hawaii should begin this summer.


For almost three decades from its completion in 1948, the 200-inch Hale telescope on Mount Palomar, California, was the largest telescope. Its single mirror, 200 inches or 5.08 metres, in diameter, was unrivalled in light-collecting area until the Soviet 6.0-metre BTA telescope on the Caucasus mountains saw its first light in 1975. Sadly this was bedevilled by structural and observing-site problems from the start, but it remained the largest until the first of the two 10-metre Keck telescopes came into operation on Mauna Kea in 1993.


The 10.4-metre and largely Spanish-operated Gran Telescopio Canarias, on the Canary Island of La Palma, has headed the pack since 2006. This and the Kecks use segmented mirrors in which the aperture is filled with an array of smaller computer-controlled mirrors. The new super-telescopes physical sciences will use segmented mirrors, too, with a total of 798 hexagonal segments for the E-ELT and 492 for the TMT.


The observing locations are also critical. The sites in Chile and Hawaii are clear on most nights of the year, with near-perfect "seeing" and negligible interference from artificial lighting. They are also extremely arid with scarcely a hint of water vapour to absorb infrared wavelengths.


It seems inevitable that the size and power of the E-ELT will revolutionise astronomy. It should, for example, allow rocky planets of other stars to be imaged for the first time and for their atmospheres to be analysed. While the ultimate aim may be to glimpse signs of alien life, it is more realistic to expect that it will be able to characterise the planetary systems of other stars, and how they form and evolve.


It should also give us our sharpest views yet of the earliest stars and galaxies, those born only a few million years after the big bang, and how interactions and mergers over the aeons have led to the universe we see today. There must be countless other discoveries awaiting and, undoubtedly, new mysteries identified that we cannot yet imagine.


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text 2014-05-26 09:34
MythBusters:Behind the Myths by The Koyal Group InfoMag News

The live show MythBusters: Behind the Myths, starring Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, co-hosts of the Emmy-nominated Discovery series "MythBusters," returns to the The Bushnell's Mortensen Hall for one night only on Wednesday, December 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now. The show promises to be an outrageous evening of entertainment featuring brand new onstage experiments, behind-the-scenes stories and some of your all-time favorites. A new immersive video experience will keep you bolted to your seat.


MythBusters: Behind the Myths brings you face-to-face with the curious world of Jamie and Adam as the duo matches wits on stage with each other and members of the audience. The show played a first sold out date at The Bushnell in March 2012. Tickets for Mythbusters: Behind the Myths are available at The Bushnell box office, 166 Capitol Avenue in Hartford, by phone at 860-987-5900, and online at bushnell.org.


One of the most highly regarded and watched series on the Discovery Channel, "MythBusters" is now in its twelfth season. Co-hosted by Hyneman and Savage, the show mixes scientific method with gleeful curiosity and plain old- fashioned ingenuity to create its own signature style of explosive experimentation - and the supporting or de-bunking of urban myths that we live with day to day.


Adam and Jamie have become spokespersons at large for applying science to real life - most recently as hosts of the Discovery Channel special ""iGenius: How Steve Jobs Changed the World," and have appeared on numerous shows including "Late Show with David Letterman," "Good Morning America," "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson," "The Colbert Report," NPR's "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition," "Countdown with Keith Olberman," and many more. They were invited to participate in Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally to Restore Fear and/or Sanity and have received the Young Artist Award for inspiring young people in the interest of science. The MythBusters have been invited to participate on a panel at Comic-Con, where their appearances have sold-out four years running.


Adam and Jamie serve as guest editors for Popular Mechanics and were featured on the cover of the September 2009 issue. That same year, they were inducted as honorary members into Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. They are Honorary Lifetime Members of the California Science Teachers Association and were named Honorary Engineers and Honorary Members of the Francis Crowe Society at the University of Maine. Both Hyneman and Savage were given honorary Doctorates at the University of Twente in the Netherlands for their efforts at popularization of science.


Adam and Jamie produced and starred in an H1N1 Public Service Announcement for the White House, and were chosen by the President to retest the Archimedes legend using 500 schoolchildren as surrogate soldiers.


They appeared as themselves in the movie Darwin Awards and have made several cameos on other TV shows, including CSI. And In 2010, Hyneman and Savage received the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism from the Harvard Secular Society.


Jamie Hyneman is the owner of M5 Industries, an effects company specializing in problematic custom builds. Besides serving as headquarters of "MythBusters," M5 continues to work on various research & development projects for private clients.


After trying his hand at careers as various as librarian at the United Nations in Geneva to running a diving and sailing charter business in the Caribbean, Hyneman began his career in show business as special effects shop assistant in New York and later in San Francisco as a crew member on films including "Robocop," "Arachnophobia" and "Naked Lunch."


While managing Colossal Pictures' model shop in San Francisco, Hyneman was given the opportunity to take over - and M5 Industries was born.


Hyneman graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Russian. He has received an honorary engineering degree from the University of Maine as well as an honorary doctorate of engineering from Villanova University, with whom he has an ongoing collaborative relationship to help develop new safety concepts for the military. He is the holder of several patents and the winner of numerous industry awards.

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text 2014-05-16 09:19
Scientists add Letters to DNA’s Alphabet by The Koyal Group InfoMag News

Scientists reported Wednesday that they had taken a significant step toward altering the fundamental alphabet of life — creating an organism with an expanded artificial genetic code in its DNA.


The accomplishment might eventually lead to organisms that can make medicines or industrial products that cells with only the natural genetic code cannot.


The scientists behind the work at the Scripps Research Institute have already formed a company to try to use the technique to develop new antibiotics, vaccines and other products, though a lot more work needs to be done before this is practical.


The work also gives some support to the concept that life can exist elsewhere in the universe using genetics different from those on Earth.


“This is the first time that you have had a living cell manage an alien genetic alphabet,” said Steven A. Benner, a researcher in the field at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Fla., who was not involved in the new work.


But the research, published online by the journal Nature, is bound to raise safety concerns and questions about whether humans are playing God. The new paper could intensify calls for greater regulation of the budding field known as synthetic biology, which involves the creation of biological systems intended for specific purposes.


“The arrival of this unprecedented ‘alien’ life form could in time have far-reaching ethical, legal and regulatory implications,” Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, a Canadian advocacy organization, said in an email. “While synthetic biologists invent new ways to monkey with the fundamentals of life, governments haven’t even been able to cobble together the basics of oversight, assessment or regulation for this surging field.”

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text 2014-04-26 07:50
The Koyal Group InfoMag: Teleskop til spot tegn af fremmede liv

Teleskopet stor nok til at stedet tegn af fremmede liv på andre planeter



Ingeniører er ved at sprænge væk i toppen af en chilensk bjerg til at oprette et websted for den europæiske meget Large Telescope. Det vil gøre det muligt for os, for første gang, at direkte observere planeter uden for solsystemet.


Cerro Armazones er en smuldrende kuppel af rock, som dominerer de udtørrede toppene af bjergkæden chilenske kyst nord for Santiago. Et par gamle beton platforme og nogle rustne rør, dele af fjeldets gammel vejrstation, er de eneste råd at mennesker nogensinde har taget en interesse i dette forbyder, tørt sted. Selv udsigt ser fremmede, med omkringliggende boulder-strøet ørkenen forsynet med en bemærkelsesværdig lighed med landskabet af Mars.


Dramatiske ændring nærmer sig Cerro Armazones, dog – for i et par uger, bjerget 10.000 m vil have sin top slået. "Vi vil at sprænge det med dynamit og derefter bortføre murbrokker," siger ingeniør Gerd Hudepohl. "Vi vil tage omkring 80 m væk fra toppen af bjerget til at oprette et plateau – og når vi har gjort det, vi vil bygge verdens største teleskop der."


Givet det bjerg remote, ugæstfri beliggenhed, det lyder måske en usandsynlig påstand – bortset fra det faktum, at Hudepohl har gjort slags før. Han er en af det europæiske sydlige observatorium mest erfarne ingeniører og var involveret i halshugning af et andet nærliggende bjerg, Cerro Paranal, hvor hans hold derefter rejst en af planetens mest avancerede observatorier.


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Den komplekse Paranal har været i drift i mere end et årti og omfatter fire gigantiske instrumenter med otte meter hele spejle – kendt som den meget store teleskoper eller VLTs – samt kontrol værelser og en labyrint af underjordiske tunneler, der forbinder sine instrumenter. Mere end 100 astronomer, ingeniører og støtte medarbejdere arbejde og leve der. Et par dusin meter under teleskoper, de har en sports-kompleks med en squashbane, en indendørs fodboldbane og en luksuriøs 110-værelse ejendom, har en central swimmingpool og en restaurant der serverer måltider og drikkevarer døgnet rundt. Bygget med udsigt over en af verdens tørreste ørkener, er stedet en fantastisk oase. ( Se nyheder på Dicoveries )


European Southern Observatory, som Storbritannien er en nøglen medlemsstat ønsker nu Hudepohl og hans team til at gentage dette bemærkelsesværdige trick og tage toppen af Cerro Armazones, som ligger 20km væk. Selv denne gang vil de opføre et instrument så stort, det vil dværg alle teleskoper på Paranal sat sammen, og eventuelle andre teleskop på planeten. Når afsluttet, den europæiske meget Large Telescope (E-ELT) og sin 39-meter spejl vil tillade astronomer at kigge længere ind i rummet og se nærmere tilbage på historien om universet end nogen anden Astronomisk enhed i eksistens. Dets konstruktion vil skubbe teleskop-gør til sin grænse, men. Dens primære spejl vil være lavet af næsten 800 segmenter – hver 1,4 meter i diameter – men kun et par centimeter tyk, som skal bringes i overensstemmelse med mikroskopiske præcision.


Det er en bemærkelsesværdig sammenstilling: midt i fuldkommen ødelæggelse, forskere har bygget gigant maskiner manipuleret til at operere med glat perfektion og nu planlægger at top denne præstation ved at bygge en endnu mere omfattende enhed. Spørgsmålet er: med hvilket formål? Hvorfor gå til en remote ørkenen i det nordlige Chile og hugge ned toppe til at gøre boliger for nogle af planetens mest komplekse videnskabelige hardware?


Svaret er ligetil, siger Cambridge University astronomen Professor Gerry Gilmore. Det handler om vand. "Stemningen her er så tør som du kan få og der er af afgørende betydning. Vandmolekyler skjule visningen fra teleskoper på jorden. Det er ligesom forsøger at peer gennem tåge – for tåge er hovedsagelig en suspension af vandmolekyler i luften, efter at alle, og de dunkle din vision. For et teleskop baseret på havets overflade, der er en stor ulempe.


"Men hvis du bygger dit teleskop, hvor atmosfæren over du er helt tørt, du får den bedste mulige udsigt over stjernerne – og der er ingen steder på jorden, som har luft tørrere end dette sted. For god foranstaltning, de højtliggende vinden blæser i en glat, laminar måde over Paranal – som plader af glas – så billeder af stjerner er fortsat bemærkelsesværdigt stabil så godt."



Udsigten over himlen her er tæt på perfekt, med andre ord – som en aftentur rundt udsigtsplatform på Paranal viser tydeligt. Under mit besøg hang Mælkevejen over observatoriet som en enkelt hvid ark. Jeg kunne se de fire vigtigste stjerner af Southern Cross; Alpha Centauri, hvis usete følgesvend Proxima Centauri er den nærmeste stjerne til vores solsystem; de to Magellanske skyer, satellit-galakser af vores egen Milky Way; og Coalsack, en interstellare støv Sky, der udgør en slående silhuet mod den stjerneklare Mælkevejen. Er ingen synlige i nordlige himmel og vises ingen med sådanne brilliance andre steder på planeten.


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Source: www.theguardian.com/science/2014/apr/20/spot-alien-life-european-extremely-large-telescope-chilean
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