By Hamish Johnston
A few days ago I mentioned an ad campaign to make the public aware of how events in the far-off cosmos affect us here on Earth. One ad points out that the some of the snowy noise on the screen of a poorly-tuned television is actually “microwave afterglow from the origin of the universe”.
It seems, however, that the universe contains more static than expected — six times more “radio noise” according to a team of astrophysicists in the US.
NASA’s Alan Kogut and colleagues launched the balloon borne ARCADE radio telescope with the hope of detecting emissions from the first stars formed after the Big Bang. Instead they found a booming signal that they couldn’t pin down to early stars or other known radio sources — a genuine mystery.
The team announced their findings at the 213th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, going on this week in California.
The study of other types of cosmic noise has led to major breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe…so watch this space.