View Full Version : Giant "Boom" Detected in Deep Space

c. page
01-08-2009, 02:59 PM
Did a search, didn't see this anywhere.


LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Space is typically thought of as a very quiet place. But one team of astronomers has found a strange cosmic noise that booms six times louder than expected.

The roar is from the distant cosmos. Nobody knows what causes it.

Of course, sound waves can't travel in a vacuum (which is what most of space is), or at least they can't very efficiently. But radio waves can.

Radio waves are not sound waves, but they are still electromagnetic waves, situated on the low-frequency end of the light spectrum.

Many objects in the universe, including stars and quasars, emit radio waves. Even our home galaxy, the Milky Way, emits a static hiss (first detected in 1931 by physicist Karl Jansky). Other galaxies also send out a background radio hiss.

But the newly detected signal, described here today at the 213th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, is far louder than astronomers expected.

There is "something new and interesting going on in the universe," said Alan Kogut of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

A team led by Kogut detected the signal with a balloon-borne instrument named ARCADE (Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission).

In July 2006, the instrument was launched from NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, and reached an altitude of about 120,000 feet (36,500 meters), where the atmosphere thins into the vacuum of space.

ARCADE's mission was to search the sky for faint signs of heat from the first generation of stars, but instead they heard a roar from the distant reaches of the universe.

"The universe really threw us a curve," Kogut said. "Instead of the faint signal we hoped to find, here was this booming noise six times louder than anyone had predicted."

Detailed analysis of the signal ruled out primordial stars or any known radio sources, including gas in the outermost halo of our own galaxy.

Other radio galaxies also can't account for the noise – there just aren't enough of them.

"You'd have to pack them into the universe like sardines," said study team member Dale Fixsen of the University of Maryland. "There wouldn't be any space left between one galaxy and the next."

The signal is measured to be six times brighter than the combined emission of all known radio sources in the universe.

For now, the origin of the signal remains a mystery.

"We really don't know what it is,"said team member Michael Seiffert of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

And not only has it presented astronomers with a new puzzle, it is obscuring the sought-for signal from the earliest stars. But the cosmic static may itself provide important clues to the development of galaxies when the universe was much younger, less than half its present age. Because the radio waves come from far away, traveling at the speed of light, they therefore represent an earlier time in the universe.

"This is what makes science so exciting," Seiffert said. "You start out on a path to measure something – in this case, the heat from the very first stars – but run into something else entirely, some unexplained."

Jason California
01-08-2009, 03:03 PM
Maybe it is the call of Unicron.

Jerome Gibbons
01-08-2009, 03:08 PM
Ah, so you're saying that this boom was 6 loud, then?

Ultimate Lurker
01-08-2009, 03:09 PM

Buk Was Right
01-08-2009, 03:11 PM
Goes the dynamite?

Ryan Elliott
01-08-2009, 03:11 PM
Shit. A Boom Tube.

Darkseid's going to fuck this planet right up the ass.

01-08-2009, 03:12 PM
look, up in the sky! it's the silver surfer!

c. page
01-08-2009, 03:12 PM
Ah, so you're saying that this boom was 6 loud, then?

i'm not saying it.

science is saying it.

Thomas Mauer
01-08-2009, 03:12 PM
The battle of the Line. Minbari are fucking up some other earth halfway across the cosmos.

c. page
01-08-2009, 03:14 PM
it is interesting that this loud (6 loud!) boom occurred a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Matthew Brown
01-08-2009, 03:16 PM

01-08-2009, 03:53 PM
Who farted?

c. page
01-08-2009, 03:54 PM
Who farted?

i bet it was neil.

01-08-2009, 04:02 PM
2012 here we come!

01-08-2009, 04:09 PM
2012 here we come!

damn mayans!

Magnum V.I.
01-08-2009, 04:11 PM
Who farted?

This Guy.


01-09-2009, 07:19 AM
it is interesting that this loud (6 loud!) boom occurred a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...


Those poor independant contractors.

01-09-2009, 07:24 AM
The universe on the kick drum, come come.

Jew Mafia
01-09-2009, 07:27 AM

Those poor independant contractors.

Well played clerk, well played.

Punk Rock Kid
01-09-2009, 07:32 AM
Crap, Krona got out of the Cosmic Egg.

James H
01-09-2009, 07:35 AM
The universe goes to 11.

01-09-2009, 08:30 AM
Galactus hungers once again...

01-09-2009, 08:34 AM
Galactus farted.

James H
01-09-2009, 08:38 AM

Bald Steve
01-09-2009, 08:53 AM
Galactus farted.

And with that, the "cosmic cloud" in FF2 is explained.

01-09-2009, 09:01 AM
And with that, the "cosmic cloud" in FF2 is explained.

It all makes since now.

Boris the Blade
01-09-2009, 09:35 AM
Prepare for incoming gamma ray burst.

Nice knowing you guys.

01-09-2009, 09:41 AM

01-09-2009, 09:46 AM
I'm so out of it right now that I keep seeing this thread as "Giant 'Poon' Detected in Deep Space," and keep imagining this galaxy sized vagina devouring planets.

Armored Dildo
01-09-2009, 09:48 AM
The battle of the Line. Minbari are fucking up some other earth halfway across the cosmos.

yes!! Go, B5 reference!! It's another Shadow-Vorlon war.

Personally, I think it's the Annihilation Wave. That series was a warning, people.

Then again, given that this was far, far away and surely originated "a long time ago", can anyone say "Death Star?!"

The Clone Ranger
01-09-2009, 10:38 AM
No, they got it wrong. Not boom.

James H
01-09-2009, 11:08 AM
I heard it was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

The jedis are gonna feel this one.