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SIR WILLIAM HERSCHEL
SIR WILLIAM HERSCHEL
Germany (1738 - 1822)
Sir Frederick William Herschel was a German-born British astronomer and composer who became famous for discovering Uranus. He also discovered infrared radiation and made many other discoveries in astronomy.
 

Disfrute estos perspicaces y educacionales videoclips obtenidos de más de 70 horas de entrevistas con las más notables figuras en astronomía tomadas durante la filmación del documental 400 Años del Telescopio.

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Butler Burton

The chemistry of interstellar space
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

What is perhaps surprising about the molecules that have been detected is that so many of them are very familiar to us. Carbon monoxide – car exhaust. Alcohol. Ethanol. Formaldehyde – embalming fluid. Formic acid – what stings if an ant bites you. mercaptan – what smells if a skunk skunks you.

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Butler Burton

The Green Bank Telescope (GBT)
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

The Green Bank telescope is a section of a parabola 100 meters across, weighs 16 million pounds. It’s one of the largest moveable structures on land.

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Butler Burton

The development of radio astronomy
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

Radio telescopes have changed over the course of the past 50-70 years, but basically the modern radio telescopes all consist of a reflecting mirror which focuses the image in the receiver.

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Butler Burton

Jansky and Reber
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

Karl Jansky was a radio engineer. He was pulled off of this project by the telephone company who were more interested in practical matters. Although some astronomers had heard of this discovery, astronomers were not radio engineers, radio engineers were not astronomers, and it took a very unusual, iconoclastic individual, Mr. Rieber, to follow up on this.

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Butler Burton

Jan Oort and the hydrogen line
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

The astronomer who saw the potential most clearly was Professor Jan Oort in the Netherlands. It was the wartime occupation in the Netherlands gave him plenty of time to think and he set one of his graduate students the task of asking the question, "Would there be a discreet spectral line, a discreet tone coming from space, from a known source?"

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Butler Burton

Locating a radio observatory
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

When a site is sought for an optical telescope you want a site which is dark. That means far from cities, far from city lights. When a site is sought for a radio telescope you want the sky also to be dark. Darkness in radio terms means free from interference.

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Butler Burton

New frontiers in radio astronomy
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

Radioastronomy was the opening of a new scientific window. Whenever you open a new window you’re bound to be surprised. It can’t be otherwise. Serendipitous discoveries, surprises, are what happens.

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Butler Burton

Optical versus radio telescopes
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

An optical telescope has a mirror, which reflects the incoming radiation to focus, which is a camera, an electronic camera. A radio telescope has a parabolic surface which reflects the incoming radio radiation to focus which is collected by a radio camera, a receiver, and it further processes the images from that reception.

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Butler Burton

Collecting radio signals from space
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

The signals from space enters the Earth’s vicinity and those that are lucky enough to land on the surface of the GBT are reflected up to the focus. At the focus there’s a collection of receivers depending on which wavelength the astronomer wants to observe.

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Butler Burton

Serendipitous radio discoveries
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

In all branches of science, serendipitous discoveries occur. They can’t be predicted but they have certain things in common, and one is that, like Jansky, the people understand the equipment they’re dealing with and are prepared to accept the unexpected.

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Catherine Cesarsky

The ALMA interferometry project
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

ALMA is a giant array of radio telescopes which will be used as an interferometer. It will have at least 66 radio telescopes and hopefully up to 80. By using many of these telescopes separated over the ground, we can attain in the sky extremely high resolutions.

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Catherine Cesarsky

The ALMA site at San Pedro de Atacama
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

We are close to San Pedro de Atacama which is now a very fashionable place to go for vacation because it’s a fantastic nature. There it was possible to find this plateau at the height of 5,000 meters.

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Catherine Cesarsky

ALMA'a angular resolution
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

The angular resolution that you will obtain with the area depends on the distance between the various antennas.

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Catherine Cesarsky

The apex: ALMA in the early stages
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

We are in Chajnantor. We are at an altitude of 5,000 meters on a very large plateau, which has been selected for the construction of ALMA.

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Catherine Cesarsky

Einstein: my astronomical hero
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

Einstein alone in his little office, could come up with so many important discoveries.

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Catherine Cesarsky

The birth of ALMA
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

I think astronomers all over the world in the last decade were realizing that the next important project in astronomy was going to be a very large, millimeter, sub-millimeter interferometer.

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Catherine Cesarsky

ALMA and the Copernican revolution
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

The biggest surprises are the ones I cannot guess. I’m sure there will be some of those.

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Catherine Cesarsky

How I became an astronomer
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

I always loved to look at the sky and I was always interested in knowing, but no, I didn’t think from early on that I would be an astronomer. It happened.

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Catherine Cesarsky

The aim of interferometry
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

The aim of interferometry is to obtain resolutions on the sky comparable to what you would get with a telescope the size like the separation between your telescopes.

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Catherine Cesarsky

The International Year of Astronomy
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

I think astronomy in general, and the big discoveries we are doing now in particular can do a lot to change the lives of a lot of people because we are studying the universe and it’s not just our universe, it’s everybody’s universe.

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Catherine Cesarsky

IYA Greeting
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

2009 has been declared by the International Astronomical Union the International Year of Astronomy.

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Catherine Cesarsky

AIA Saludo (Español)
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

2009 es el Año Internacional de Astronomia, cuatro ciento años despues de la primera observación de Galileo hizo con su pequeño telescopio sobre la luna. La Union Astronomica Internacional invita a toda la humanidad a mirar al universo. 2009, el universo para que lo descubres.

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Catherine Cesarsky

ALMA's arrays and observation support facility
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

We are at the ALMA operations support facility. We are 2,900 meters altitude on the Chajnantor mountain and you know that the ALMA facility will in fact operate much higher, at 5,000 meters.

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Catherine Cesarsky

Justifying ALMA's costs
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

The whole world got together to construct ALMA. It’s a very important facility which should bring complete new knowledge about the universe.

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Catherine Cesarsky

ALMA's spectrum range
Catherine Cesarsky - International Astronomical Union

ALMA will work at the millimeter and sub-millimeter range, which means the wavelengths, these are microwaves and their wavelength is of that size, between one millimeter to a tenth of a millimeter, .3 millimeters, actually, for ALMA. This is a wavelength that has been least explored in astronomy these days, and so the potential for discovery is absolutely enormous.

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