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Earth-sized radiotelescope record.

Earth-sized radiotelescope record

A team of scientists has made observations of the cosmos with a very fine resolution, using an intercontinental array of radiotelescopes. The researchers were able to make observations of distant galaxies and quasars with a resolution of 100 microseconds of arc, which represents "something of a landmark," says Peter Sheuer of Cambridge University in England in a commentary on an article in the July 14 NATURE. This resolution is two to three times better than the best previous resolution available using radiotelescopes, and 10,000 times better than the best optical telescopes.

The team made, in effect, a radiotelescope the size of the earth by using five to ten radio dishes spanning the earth, all observing the same object at the same time. Such a tecnique--called very long baseline interferometry -- is not new in itself, but the network's sensitivity is constantly being improved. Such high-resolution radio astronomy will allow astronomers to see the "engines that power quasars and galaxies," says one of the paper's authors, Norbert Bartel of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 16, 1988
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