Tag Archives: South Pole Telescope


18 Apr

Only experts can fully understand the recent discoveries from the South Pole, but all of us can marvel at the implications.

The South Pole is an ideal place for observation of the cosmos because of its high altitude (thin atmosphere) and cold (little water vapour which can confuse signals). The telescope is designed to detect microwave radiation and can scan huge areas of the universe.

The aim, to investigate the nature of the universe, has been triumphantly successful recently and strengthened the importance of continued scientific research in Antarctica. Scientists from Harvard have found evidence of gravity waves, ripples in space-time that were formed in an infinitely miniscule time when the cosmos was created.

The presence of the gravity waves supports the theory of HYPERINFLATION, the idea that, at the start of the universe, there was a violent and hugely fast, period of expansion,

Professor John Kovac’s team recorded photons, which were pulled and squeezed by the gravity waves. This caused light packets to line up in a way that would not be expected if they had crossed the cosmos undisturbed by these gravity waves.

It is claimed that hyperinflation is the only way that these gravity waves could have been produced. An important implication is that our universe is not the only one formed in this way, there could be many, many other galaxies, all containing a similar number of stars.

I think that every confirmation of the validity of Einstein’s theory of general relativity is comforting.

This is further evidence of the value of scientific research in Antarctica. The research by men of science began with Scott’s two expeditions. Scott laid much emphasis on the scientific work.

Impossible for most of us to understand in any detail, but some may say this is part of the scheme of things inspired by the Almighty.

Science in Antarctica

10 Jan

I am giving a number of talks on Antarctica this year; obviously a most important year in relation to the commemoration of the deaths of the British Polar Party in 1912.  People remain fascinated by the achievements of the early twentieth century explorers.

But history is only a part of Antarctica; scientific advances on the continent have focussed the world’s attention on it as a platform for pivotal new information about the universe.

Since the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58 (when scientists from many nations cooperated for the first time on scientific projects) and the Antarctic Treaty of 1961 (which set aside territorial claims and ensured the freedom of scientific projects), a vast amount of information has been gathered: weather balloons floating above the continent raised the first concerns about global warning, the South Pole telescope will survey thousands of galaxies. ‘Ice Cube’s a powerful telescope that searches for dark matter and is collecting information on neutrinos, Ice Cores (which retrieve a core of ice from deep below the Antarctic surface), give us information about the geological conditions existing hundreds of thousands of years ago. Antarctic lakes have been found deep below the ice with living creatures in them.

Truly a place of important ongoing possibilities, potential and fascination.