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A Telescope as Big as the Earth

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the now-come-the-arguments-on-where-to-point-it-next dept.

Space 172

Roland Piquepaille writes "A week ago, seven telescopes around the world were linked together to watch a distant galaxy called 3C273 in real time and create a single world telescope. The data from these telescopes, which are located in Australia, China and Europe, was streamed around the world at a rate of 256 Mb per second. One of the Australian researchers involved in the project said that it was the first time that astronomers have been able to instantaneously connect telescopes half a world apart. He added that 'the diameter of the Earth is 12,750 km and the two most widely separated telescopes in our experiment were 12,304 km apart.'"

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Unfortunately... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511521)

...all data from the Shanghai telescope was filtered and replaced with promotional material for the Peoples Republic of China. Apparently the galaxy bears a striking resemblance to Chairman Mao.

Re:Unfortunately... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511827)

... all data from the Shanghai telescope was found to be contaminated with high levels of lead, antifreeze, and banned food additives.

Re:Unfortunately... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511999)

...all data from the Shanghai telescope was found to be manufactured by child laborer using Google Sky. The children are paid in World of Warcraft Gold which a small division of the group help to mine from the game.

Re:Unfortunately... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20512257)

... all data from the Shanghai telescope was found to be a cleverly reverse-engineered copy of American and European data. Officials at the World Intellectual Property Organization could not be reached for comment.

Re:Unfortunately... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20513015)

all data from the USA telescope was found to be drawing of god by G.W.Bush.

What's next? One as big as Uranus? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20512957)

Yeah, yeah. I know.

But I just had to do it. :D

Redundant array of telescopes (1)

Wiseman1024 (993899) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513261)

This is a redundant array of telescopes

Yes, but (0, Redundant)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511543)

does it run Linux?

Heh (4, Funny)

Scott Lockwood (218839) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511685)

Imagine a Beowolf Cluster of these!

In The Ghetto XXXI (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511729)

In The Ghetto XXXI (Special Guest Star: Grandma Lockwood)

A burning wet fart scalded Vlad's colon and rectum as he twitched awake. Vlad laid in bed, shaking at the horrible images that had danced through his sleeping mind. Sweat streamed from his forehead, trickled through his greasy scalp and soaked his pillow. This had been the worst nightmare yet. Vlad had dreamt that he was married to a 400-pound bag of soul-sucking gelatin. Living in a double-wide trailer filled with Jerry Springer moments, his only joy was his two sexy sons.

Vlad slipped out of bed and tip-toed into the next room. There, Grandma slept peacefully, snoring and farting in her usual comforting way. Vlad slipped under the covers with her and immediately felt his sense of security return. Grandma always made everything better. A loud, low rumble escaped from her buttocks. Vlad pulled himself lower down the length of the bed so that his nose rested against Grandma's ass. He inhaled deeply as the gas wafted around him and put him back to sleep. Vlad savored every moment, even in his sleep, for he knew tomorrow the other kids in his class would remind him of his countless inadequacies.

* * * * * * * * *

Vlad belched forcefully, sending chunks of hamburger helper spewing out into the living-room. The orange plastic of the couch stuck to his fat pale legs and his stained briefs bathed him in a rich sampling of unique Lockwood odors. At the opposite end of the couch, Reza sat in her usual spot. The cushion was practically non-existent, compressed as it was from her unimaginable mass.

"Oh Vladdie-Pop, I'm so glad Grandma has come to stay with us since little Vaginez came along! It is so nice to have some help around the house!"

"Yo, you fat cunt, I'm trying to watch the new Eminem video. One more word outta you, and your fat ass'll be laid out on the fuckin' floor for the next month."

Reza quivered at the thought of another merciless beating by her dear Vladdie-Pop. The last time he had "corrected" her, she had spent 22 hours huddled in the shower, weeping as the scalding water pelted her rubbery body. She had lost a whopping 1/2 pound that day. She spent the entire next day eating, fearful of her body wasting away to further displease her beloved.

Reza's ruminations were interrupted by a terrible screeching from Marticock's Chamber. Vlad's fleshy head reddened with rage. He just wanted to watch television. Why did everything always have to work against him? He turned to Reza, with a terrifying scowl on his face. Reza felt a pang of terror shoot through her massive gut and she frantically dislodged herself from the indentation in the couch.

Reza thudded across the double-wide's paper-thin floors, "Grandma! Grandma!"

Grandma Lockwood was sitting on the toilet relieving herself of the Metamucil she had consumed for breakfast, "don't worry, dear, I'll take little Marticock out for a nice walk and he'll be fine!"

"Oh Grandma," Reza blubbered.

Grandma Lockwood soaked a rag in some Clorox and cleaned her rump of the liquified feces that had spattered up from the toilet. She applied a thick coat of Johnson's Baby Powder and then pulled up her stockings. She flushed the toilet, which immediately backed up and spilled out over the floor.

"Reza, honey, you wanna clean up my shit while I take little Marticock for a nice walk?"

Reza was only happy to clean up in the bathroom. It would give her a purpose, a valid reason to be away from Vlad. Though she could never admit such a thing to herself, at a subconscious level she would do anything to avoid being with her Precious Love.

Grandma Lockwood prepared the grocery cart by throwing some used Taco Bell napkins in the bottom to make a nice nest for Marticock. She then lifted Marticock from his crib, careful not to agitate his pummelled rear, and placed him comfortably in the nest. She wrapped herself in her Eminem shawl - a Christmas gift from her grandson - and pushed Marticock out the door.

With Reza scrubbing furiously in the bathroom and Grandma Lockwood and Marticock strolling outside, Vlad popped open another can of beer and used it to wash down a handful of Prozac. His body melted into the orange vinyl of the couch as the flashing images of Slim Shady sang to the troubled teen within.

Vlad's tranquility was suddenly interrupted by the screeching of brakes and a loud blaring horn. Vlad heard a scream, a crunch and then the sound of an idling diesel engine. An explosion of gas propelled Vlad from the couch and he waddled as quickly as he could out the door. Vlad dropped his beer and his jaw in shock at the crumpled heap of Grandma Lockwood laying in the middle of the road. A pool of blood expanded around her. Marticock had been thrown from his cart and laid on the street kicking his feet. His diaper had been torn from his body and Grandma Lockwood's warm blood soothed his infected rectum as it oozed around him.

Marticock rolled over onto his stomach and the warm blood aroused his penis, which had grown to gigantic proportions due to Vlad's testosterone experiments. Marticock began to masturbate in the road, using the blood as a lubricant. Vlad's horror began to change, to mutate, into arousal. He knew of no other way to cope, emotionally crippled as he was. He could only think of satisfying his primal desires. But Marticock was out of the question until his anus healed. Vlad needed to stick it in something quick.

Then something caught his eye. Vlad was able to make out the form of Grandma Lockwood's ass in the mutilated heap of flesh. It was sticking high into the air and the warm evening breeze carried the scent of Clorox and Baby Powder to Vlad's discerning nose hairs.

Vlad peeled his briefs from his flaccid body and dropped the beer can as he lunged toward the alluring butt. Vlad tore away the old brown stockings and plunged his 1 inch missile of passion into the dry, boney rear. Vlad thrust forcefully, grinding himself against Grandma Lockwoods cold, lifeless rump. The truck driver hopped out of his cab and watched the gruesome act of Lockwoodphilia in complete shock and horror.

Vlad smiled in ecstacy. Even in death, Grandma Lockwood comforted Vlad's tormented psyche.

Re:Heh (1)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512065)

It would be defeated by a Grendel's Mother Cluster.

Really? (2, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512529)

Because as I recall, Beowulf killed Grendel's mother. During the whole story of Beowulf, he is never defeated, though he does die of his wounds after defeating the dragon.

No, it runs Windows ME. (4, Funny)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512189)

Just seconds after the feeds started the galaxy imagery was somehow lost and replaced with the standard BSOD screen.

After the Big Bang... (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512389)

the universe will apparently head towards the Big Blue (screen of death). It is inevitable.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511545)

Can we use this gigantic mirror to fight global warming. I mean, there's no chance that an asteroid will by chance hit it and fry us now is there?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511687)

Hmm.... Thought it was a death star orbiting Earth sporting lots of shiny bling. Wrong type of telescope. Nothing to see here, carry on.

FYI (4, Informative)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511553)

This technique [wikipedia.org] is being used.

Re:FYI (4, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511831)

I read up on it, but I didn't see the downsides of this technique being discussed. What's the drawback of using this technique as opposed to an actual earth-sized telescope?

Re:FYI (4, Informative)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512241)

Total amount of signal gathered. That is to say, you gather less rain with a few buckets scattered across a field ratherthan a field-sized bucket. On the plus side, since you are monitoring simultaneously at different sites, you can compare the signals among the antennae to get the same spatial resolution of a telescope the size of the Earth. Compare to the VLA [wikipedia.org] , a much smaller version of the same technique.

Re:FYI (1)

tygt (792974) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512299)

ie, you don't get as much light.....

Re:FYI (2)

schwanerhill (135840) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513269)

Or the VLBA [wikipedia.org] , a 'world-sized' very long baseline interferometer. At the VLBA, they record the data from each of the ten antennae to tapes with very accurate timestamps, then combine the data later at the NRAO facility in Socorro, New Mexico.

Re:FYI (3, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512363)

What's the drawback of using this technique as opposed to an actual earth-sized telescope?

One advantage of the actual earth-sized telescope is that if you tweak the electronics a bit, then the instrument can also be used as a weapon to destroy rebellious planets.

Re:FYI (4, Informative)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513087)

There are two reasons to make a really big telescope (whether optical, radio, or even x-ray). FIrst you pick up more photons, allowing you to pick up dimmer, more distant objects and get less noisy data. The second is that you get improved angular resolution, since the limiting factor for resolution on a good telescope is the diffraction of light, a consequence of the wave nature. Simply, the angular resolution is approximated very well by Rayleigh's Formula:

Resolution(radians) = Wavelength/Diameter

When you do this kind of technique, you increase the angular resolution that can be picked up to that of a full telescope over the area (if designed properly to get the middle resolutions as well). However, as others have mentioned, you don't get the full number of photons, which means you have to increase the imaging time or allow for much high SNRs. However, this is still very useful for getting high resolution images of fairly bright objects.

Re:FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511965)

And this [crazyabouttv.com] is what they found.

Central Obstruction (4, Funny)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511555)

Wow! And I thought SCT's had a large central obstruction.

Ok. That might be the geekiest joke in the histroy of /.
:(

Re:Central Obstruction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511665)

Care to explain it, for us mere apprentice-geeks ?

Re:Central Obstruction (3, Informative)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511853)

SCT's are Schmidt-Cassegrain telecopes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schmidt-Cassegrain_te lescope [wikipedia.org]

They have a large central obstruction which houses the secondary mirror.

Central Obstrcutions come with negative affects.
http://www.telescope-optics.net/obstruction.htm

So I was making a very bad and geeky joke based on the headline about this being a very large telescope with the entire Earth as its central obsutrction. Which, in a *very* round-about sense, it is.

Were they looking in the optical range? (1, Interesting)

ttapper04 (955370) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511559)

I have seen radio telescopes linked in such a way to form a "larger" antenna. Is this similar?

Re:Were they looking in the optical range? (4, Informative)

Robotbeat (461248) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511739)

This is in the radio range, not the optical range. The summary misled me to thinking it was in the optical range, which would be an impressive achievement, indeed! The news of this story is that it was done in real-time, over a network connection, instead of by shipping data from each radio telescope site on hard-drives to a location be processed later.

Re:Were they looking in the optical range? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511857)

The summary is a little misleading, but the seventh word of the article is "radio". Of course that didn't stop the grandparent from being modded up. At least look at the article people. You don't have to read the whole thing!

Re:Were they looking in the optical range? (1)

perturbed1 (1086477) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511899)

I had the same reaction. Bummer... But honestly, it is good that astronomers are catching up to something which for particle physicists, is business as usual.

Re:Were they looking in the optical range? (1)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512521)

This is in the radio range, not the optical range.

Damn. This means all we got for this was reruns of the Aploterix! and Andy show from Betelgeuse.

Re:Were they looking in the optical range? (3, Informative)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512829)

Just to expand on this comment for other readers, any time you do this with any kind of wavelength, you have to have the positions of the telescopes known within fractions of a wavelength. Radio waves range from meters to millimeters, so precision on a worldwide scale is difficult but not impossible at this range , although doing it in real-time is still an impressive feat, as this used to be done by recording the signals to tape, taking them to a central location and processing the data then.

However, expanding it to optical frequencies (where you can pick up different types of objects and also do so to much higher resolution) is difficult, since the wavelengths are around 500 nanometers, a level of precision that is still impossible on worldwide scales, except maybe in space, where you can depend on laser range finding over very long distances, although i don't know of any proposals trying to do this over very large scale.

Re:Were they looking in the optical range? (1)

CaptainCaustic (746320) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511875)

I have seen radio telescopes linked in such a way to form a "larger" antenna. Is this similar?

You may be thinking of an interferometer. It's virtually the same thing. Very Large Baseline Inteferometry (VLBI)has been around a long time. The deal here is that now it can be done in real time.

Your Citizenship Has Been Revoked (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511563)

Impeach Bush With A Halloween Surprise [youtube.com] FP!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Cool (2, Interesting)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511589)

It would make a great plugin for google earth. Instead of zooming in on earth from space, you could zoom into space from earth.

Re:Cool (5, Informative)

Gloy (1151691) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511761)

You haven't tried Google Sky [google.com] , then?

Re:Cool (1)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511813)

No =) I should have guessed that google had already done it though.

Re:Cool (1)

ls -la (937805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512123)

I actually had a program like that about 10 years ago. Universe explorer? Something along those lines. Anyway, you could put in a date and look at the sky for whenever you wanted, you could find the next solar or lunar eclipse, etc. It was cool while I was hooked on astronomy.

All at once (5, Funny)

Blitz22 (1122015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511611)

I for one, welcome our giant eyed, galactic..... I soviet Russia, the world telescopes .... Scientist can finally peer deep into goat..... be gentle.

Re:All at once: you missed the new one (1)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512243)

According to NASA...

Re:All at once: you missed the new one (1)

LEgregius (550408) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513067)

In South Korea, only old people use world telescopes.

Real time? (2, Insightful)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511613)

> A week ago, seven telescopes around the world were linked together to watch a distant galaxy called 3C273 in real time and create a
> single world telescope.

Not to be overly pedantic, but the data were streamed from all over the world to a location in Europe, then processed, and then streamed to China for viewing.

Even though they weren't going over the public net, that's still almost certainly >1000ms latency. Harldy "real time".

Although, I suppose that's acceptable on top of the two and a half years it took for the photons to get to us.

Re:Real time? (2, Funny)

FiveLights (1012605) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511759)

There's a galaxy only two and a half light years from here? It's suddenly feeling awfully crowded...

Re:Real time? (1)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511913)

Hrm.

I just wiki'd 3C 273 [wikipedia.org] and took the distance from that, but I see now that's a quasar, not a galaxy.

Perhaps TFA made a mistake? It seems unlikely that there would be both a galaxy and a quasar with that name.

Re:Real time? (2, Funny)

caerwyn (38056) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511995)

You missed the "G" in front of the ly for that object. 2.44 Gly is a bit further away than 2.44 ly.

A quaser that close to the earth would be a less than pleasant galactic neighbor.

Re:Real time? (1)

ls -la (937805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512071)

Hrm.

I just wiki'd 3C 273 [wikipedia.org] and took the distance from that, but I see now that's a quasar, not a igalaxy.

Perhaps TFA made a mistake? It seems unlikely that there would be both a galaxy and a quasar with that name.
Quasars [wikipedia.org] are at the center of galaxies. There are a few possibilities for what is actually happening; most likely the scientists are studying the quasar, mentioned it was the center of a galaxy, and the nontechnical reporter made a small mistake.

Re:Real time? (2, Informative)

ls -la (937805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511915)

Not to be overly pedantic, but light from another galaxy takes more than 2.5 years to get here. Light from the closest (known) star [wikipedia.org] takes 4.22 years to get here. The article didn't say how far away the galaxy was, but 2.5 *billion* years would be a better guess, and that's on the low side.

Re:Real time? (2)

Odiumjunkie (926074) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512025)

ooh, there's the problem - it's 2.44 Gly, not 2.44 ly

damn my unscientific mind

Wrong it is not 4.22 years. (5, Funny)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512217)

Actually light from the closest know star takes about 8 minutes to get to the earth.

Re:Wrong it is not 4.22 years. (3, Insightful)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512505)

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the best way to reply to a pedantic post...by being more pedantic.

Re:Wrong it is not 4.22 years. (4, Funny)

MollyB (162595) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512597)

From the photons' POV it takes no time at all. (ducks)

Re:Wrong it is not 4.22 years. (1)

oni (41625) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512873)

The trip from the Sun to Earth takes only 8 minutes, but it takes more than 10 million years for the photons to get from the core of the sun where they are created, out to the surface.

Re:Real time? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512569)

Don't be stupid. Jeez, by your definition, NOTHING is real time.

OK (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511617)

I think I would rather have one high altitude large aperture 'scope looking at an object all night rather than two at the opposite sides of the world. The ones on the opposite sides of the world won't be able to look for long before one of them disappears over the horizon. Not only that but they are looking through the maximum amount of atmosphere.

This stunt is a technical accomplishment but maybe not that important in and of itself. What would get me excited would be a couple of orbiting 'scopes.

Re:OK (5, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511809)

It's a radio telescope; the atmosphere is almost irrelevant. This gives a very large effective size for diffraction purposes, meaning the resulting images can be much more finely resolved.

Re:OK (1)

PhilTR (190678) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512513)

This is fantastic news. I only wonder why it hasn't been done sooner. In fact, I wonder why two Hubble-like telescopes were not orbited on opposite sides of the earth to focus periodically on the same object. This would provide unprecedented detail of objects as well as accuracy of their distance from the earth.

Re:OK (1)

DrWho520 (655973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513097)

Actually, you could do exactly the same thing with one Hubble at two different times if the event/object you are looking at is long lived compared to the Hubble orbital period. Of course, the article is talking about a conglomeration of radio telescopes, not optical. You can also measure distance to an object using a ground based radio telescope at two different times in the Earth's orbit.

Re:OK (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511935)

Well, these are radio scopes, so the atmosphere isn't a problem. And the new "Lucky" imaging technique (Reported just a few days ago) solves a lot of the distortion problem. Now, 2 scopes at a large diameter have the same resolving power as a single scope with a diameter equal to the distance between the 2. So it really is like having a telescope the size of the earth. The only thing they don't have is light-gathering capacity, and the arrays used are large enough that that isn't really a problem.

Re:OK (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512423)

By having the scopes at the opposite ends of the Earth and sharing phase accurate data between them they have an aperture size equivalent to their separation. Which is larger than any single scope you could launch. You could launch two scopes and do the same thing, but the dish size you get on the ground is rather larger than what we can launch.

Now imaging... (1)

f00dif00 (769342) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511691)

Coordinating scopes on the moon, mars, and earth - that would be quite a "light bucket", no?

Re:Now imaging... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511797)

no.

Re:Now imaging... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20512483)

synching would be the biggest issue. it takes more than a second to just get to the moon. mars is more than 10 minutes. additionally, the viewing direction is pretty much limited to the cone around axis of solar system.

Re:Now imaging... (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513017)

Yeah but they'd probably only come into alignment for a couple of days every few years.

To the Roland P Complainers, Remember one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511749)

It could be worse. The article could have been written by twitter. At least Roland Piquepaille doesn't tie the article into Microsoft even though the story has nothing to do with Microsoft.

Re:To the Roland P Complainers, Remember one thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511873)

Let's hear no BITCHING about our friend Roland, what's good for *IDG* is good for Mr. Piquepaille!

Everyone gets their panties in a bunch over Roland's blog but it's OK for IDG Drones (ComputerWorld, ITWorld, NetworkWorld...) to *SHILL* for their corporate mothership on Slashdot? Hmmm...

Lucas123 [slashdot.com]
coondoggie [slashdot.com]
inkslinger77 [slashdot.com]
narramissic [slashdot.com]
jcatcw [slashdot.com]

Fi.rst post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20511763)

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Any chance we can see the results? (1)

securityfolk (906041) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511819)

I don't see a link to any videos or images - are there any? After all, you can false color radio frequencies into a visual range image. Will any videos be released, or would the content be too slow and boring to broadcast?

Re:Any chance we can see the results? (2, Informative)

ls -la (937805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512331)

To give you an idea how boring the videos would be, the jets coming out the top and bottom are 200,000 light-years long. That means the galaxy hasn't so much as wobbled for over 200,000 years.

Re:Any chance we can see the results? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20512923)

it can't be any worse than watching golf on tv.

Lightspeed Broken! (4, Funny)

ec_hack (247907) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511847)

One of the Australian researchers involved in the project said that it was the first time that astronomers have been able to instantaneously connect telescopes half a world apart.

This is the real story - FTL communications!

A source of hope (5, Insightful)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511933)

We have problems on earth, but most of them will never be solved. Poverty will always exist. Stupidity will always exist. So will criminality, alcoholism, drug addiction, and failure. We can either spend our time obsessing over the negative, or we can choose to explore space and find a new future. I'm glad that we continue to probe space, to consider sending up ships, and most all, that we keep space exploration alive in our minds as a source of hope.

Wow, that's depressing (2, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512727)

The good news is that 94% of every human being who has ever lived is now dead.

Re:Wow, that's depressing (1, Funny)

jcorno (889560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512815)

The good news is that 94% of every human being who has ever lived is now dead.


If it makes you feel any better, it's really closer to 50%, and most of those people were douchebags.

How many people have ever lived? (1)

chihowa (366380) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513279)

The good news is that 94% of every human being who has ever lived is now dead.
If it makes you feel any better, it's really closer to 50%, and most of those people were douchebags.
That's an interesting thought. The quickest answer I could find was this Google Answers answer [google.com] (a wonder, since I searched on Google!).

Re:Wow, that's depressing (1)

MorpheousMarty (1094907) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513141)

The good news is that 94% of every human being who has ever lived is now dead.
And that on a long enough time line the survival rate for everyone goes to 0! Now who wants to party?

Yeah! let's just run away! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20513217)

Oh this world is so terrible. I'm sure there's a great new world out there just waiting for me! A place where the trees are green, the air is fresh, Paris Hilton isn't there, George Bush hasn't invaded it yet, and there's always bacon cooking in the kitchen.

But running away from your problems doesn't always work.

What About C? (1)

riffzifnab (449869) | more than 7 years ago | (#20511953)

One of the Australian researchers involved in the project said that it was the first time that astronomers have been able to instantaneously connect telescopes half a world apart.
So how did they break the speed of light? Bha. In my day we respected the laws of physics.
(get off my porch)

VLBI has been doing this since the late 1960's (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512041)

This is known as VLBI, and it's been done since the 1960's. During the mission of the Japanese VSOP [isas.ac.jp] satellite, we had telescopes bigger than the Earth.

What is new here is the real time data transport, not the observations.

This seems impressive but... (2, Funny)

moosejaw99 (1052622) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512149)

I wonder what the Storm botnet could do?

Curiousity Question (2, Interesting)

StickyWidget (741415) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512155)

"He added that 'the diameter of the Earth is 12,750 km and the two most widely separated telescopes in our experiment were 12,304 km apart.'"

So, when measuring the distance between each of the telescopes, did he do it through the planet (diameter), or did he measure the distance across the surface of the planet (circumference)? Cause that kind makes a huge difference, and really screws up any valid comparison between the two distances.

~Sticky
/You know, kind of like comparing English furlongs and Australian wallabies. Just way too different.

Re:Curiousity Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20512875)

Indeed, that was the first thing I thought when I read the comparison. The more appropriate measure would be half the Earth's circumference, and the more appropriate title would be "A Telescope as Wide as the Earth".

Did they see anything? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512233)

Apparently, they must not have seen anything good, because there are no pics in the article... I don't know why they'd run an article about some awesome new telescope -- without the most important feature of any telescope -- a picture of what it can see.

Apologies to Steven Wright... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512323)

I have a map of the United States... Actual size. It says, "Scale: 1 mile = 1 mile." I spent last summer folding it. I also have a full-size map of the world. I hardly ever unroll it. People ask me where I live, and I say, "E6".

real question is (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512347)

can it see linux up there?

It's the Internet, stupid! (1)

bromoseltzer (23292) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512391)

The news here is using the Internet for a real-time transmission of a substantial bandwidth of RF to a central correlation receiver. Non-real-time "whole earth telescopes" have been running since the 1970s. It's called Very Long Baseline Interferometry [wikipedia.org] .

Galaxy or Quasar? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512395)

3C 273 is a Quasar, not a galaxy (According to wikipedia at least). Are they talking about the galaxy containing/near the Quasar, or what?

USA was left out... (2, Funny)

JLennox (942693) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512537)

...because their 52kb/s upload from Comcast just didn't cut it.

Re:USA was left out... (2, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513237)

And the fact that they would get throttled in favor of Comcast's own Earth-sized telescope.

Re:USA was left out... (1)

Phu5ion (838043) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513313)

Damn it. You beat me to "Why was the US left out" joke.

Why "ohnoitsroland"? (0, Flamebait)

cygonik (679205) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512695)

Is there something I'm missing about Roland that I should know?

Make it BIGGER (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512709)

So why not a telescope as big as the ORBIT of the Earth? ...as long as you're looking at something like a galaxy, that isn't going to change the shape of its features over the course of a year. Any reason why this wouldn't be possible?

Re:Make it BIGGER (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512915)

It's an interesting idea, but its a difficult task because relative positions have to be maintained within fractions of wavelengths, so centimeters or millimeters for radio waves. While not technically impossible, doing this over the size of the Earth's orbit is a very difficult engineering task, requiring new tracking technologies and huge amounts of station-keeping fuel and precision.

So at this point, possible but expensive. I could see it as a 50-year-out kind of technology, unless someone decides it really needs to be done soon, and has the influence and money to back it up.

Re:Make it BIGGER (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513043)

Actually, the repositioning of the planet does change the features on a certain level. While it may not have much impact on galactic observations this stellar parallax is being observed. I know a scope monkey at The Allegheny Observatory in Pittsburgh who does this sort of thing.

Why bother being instantaneous? (2, Interesting)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512751)

I mean, what they observed already happened long ago. We're just observing it now, and that's fine, but theoretically they could just each independantly observe, timedcode, and then sync it all up later.

Its not like it was a live event where you had to have it just then.

Re:Why bother being instantaneous? (2, Informative)

Professor Luke Moody (1153395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20512983)

True enough, but I seem to understand from the rest of the article that convenience is the main gain. "'We used to record data on tapes or disks at each telescope, along with time signals from atomic clocks. The tapes or disks would then be shipped to a central processing facility to be combined,' Dr Tzioumis said." So no, there's not much gain in information (that I can see) but rather it's a lot easier and faster to have all of the data sitting there, ready for you to play with. Or whatever they plan to do.

Data rate (2, Informative)

Anonymous Custard (587661) | more than 7 years ago | (#20513077)

"The data from these telescopes, which are located in Australia, China and Europe, was streamed around the world at a rate of 256 Mb per second"

This means that over 10 seconds 2560Mb of data would be streamed, according to NASA.
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