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Studio Guest: Dr. Gabriele Schönherr | Tomorrow Today

7 years ago133 views

"Astronomers will always need bigger and larger telescopes just because you need a larger collecting area and you need a larger baseline and radio astronomy for better resolutions for images."DW-TV: Mrs. Gabriele Schönherr, telescopes seem to get bigger and bigger. ALMA is an area of many dozen different single telescopes. How much bigger will you want to be? Will you ever come to an end? Gabriele Schönherr: No, never. I mean, astronomers will always need bigger and larger telescopes just because you need a larger collecting area and you need a larger baseline and radio astronomy for better resolutions for images. And what are the biggest telescopes you have today? Well, it depends on which range you ask. In the optical it would be a single mirror of 8.4 meters but the planning of 40 meter mirror out of different segments right now. And if you look at radio astronomy? Well, there the trick is to combine different telescopes like with ALMA and you can in principle do that just limited by the Earth radius and not even that because there have been experiments where you were combining also satellites to the Earth bound radio stations. So, there actually is no end. You'll always get bigger and bigger of-course. With ALMA you can actually look back in time towards the big bang and you get to times as twelve billion years back. Which range would you actually use to go back even further, towards the birth of our universe? Light wouldn't be enough anymore. You would need to go to gravitational waves, because there's a certain point where the universe got visible. But you can see the echo of the big bang in radio astronomy. That sounds complicated, then. Yeah. It is. It's do-able. You are actually working with a project called Loafa and the detectors or the telescopes you have look very different because they are very simple. How do they actually work? Yean, I mean, you see here another next generation radio telescope like ALMA. Maybe you wouldn't believe it, it looks so simp