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The Astroholic

I’m the Universe, hear me roar.

6 Jul 2015, 12:22 UTC
I’m the Universe, hear me roar.
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The cosmos has plenty of terrifying Lovecraftian features, but one of my favourites is the Space Roar.
There is a loud radio signal, described as a constant hiss, that seems to pervade the cosmos. It is louder than the radio signature of radio galaxies, and it is without explanation.
It was discovered in 2009 by the team using the ARCADE experiment. The Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission is a great experiment which was design to detect the radio waves emitted by very distant galaxies. Our atmosphere is opaque to radio waves. This is why we can transmit signals to the other side of the planet. Radio waves bounce on the atmosphere when we produce them and off it when coming from space. To circumvent this situation, ARCADE was placed on a high altitude balloon, which took the instrument to 37km, enough to be able to detect the right radio waves.
The specific radio waves the experiment was looking for belonged to the first stars in the universe. By analysing the waves, we can measure the heating of the primordial universe by its first inhabitants.
But what they found was the roar. The roar ...

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