Science Saturday

It’s Science Saturday in the Albuquerque Journal. By which I mean that, when editors wander the halls looking for copy to fill the holiday news doldrums, there’s always an extra science feature on offer. (sub/ad req if you follow the links)

VLA gets an upgrade:

Rick Perley had a big smile on his face as he climbed up inside Antenna No. 24 at the Very Large Array.

“This is cool,” Perley said as he looked up at the new set of “eyeglasses” technicians had just finished installing on the giant radio telescope.

Those eyeglasses — actually sophisticated radio receivers — are the front end of an upgrade that will make the 30-year-old telescope 10 times more powerful than it is today.

Bonus material – birdwatching and “citizen science”:

Sei Tokuda counted off the big gray birds standing in the field north of the Rio Grande Nature Center.

Snow drifted down from the north as the retired immunologist and two other volunteer bird counters made their way methodically through the Nature Center.

“Fourteen, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,” he said. “I see 19 cranes here.”

His daughter, Kathleen Tokuda, added the sandhill crane count to the clipboard she was carrying.

Walking quietly into the nearby trees, Sei Tokuda spotted six doves high in a cottonwood, huddled against the morning cold.

I know, I know. Birdwatching with the Nature Center crew on a beautiful cold, snowy December morning, counting all those cranes, was rough duty. But someone had to do it!

One Comment

  1. The possible detection in the Soudan mine of a neutralino (a brand new particle that may show both the Higgs boson and supersymmetry) occurred at 15 KeV. This particle may be the predominant component of dark matter.

    Are there uses of the refurbished VLA that may detect something related to the properties of dark matter or dark energy?

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