Caught Between Broadcast and Light
"Caught Between Broadcast and Light"
Somewhere between visible to infrared light and radio waves lies the terahertz bands also known as the 'Sub Millimeter Bands' of radiated energy.
Between 150- 900 Ghz.
Of all the various bands of energy flying around the universe, the Sub Millimeter Band is one of the longest lasting and most Phase Coherent (for you sound guys) wave forms of them all. This means that Sub Millimeter sources, including young stars, new galaxy's and even Black Holes all of which emit a TON of radiation in the Sub Millimeter bandwidths can be seen at extremely far distances.
Measured in BILLIONS of light years.
This fairly recent field of study has unveiled some amazing things particularly in the field of Astronomy. The problem for us here on earth in observing this energy is the water in the atmosphere which absorbs and scatters this energy. Consequently, the locations for building devices to study this energy must be very high and very dry to work properly. You also need to be able to drive trucks to them in order to build and staff them. You could build the world's most powerful telescope on the summit of say, Mt Everest, but nobody could work there.
These are extremely rare places.
There's about half a dozen of them around the world.
The summit of Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii is one such location.
Here Sub Millimeter research has been going on for over 20 years and what they are seeing is astounding. Among other things by looking back in time over 12.5 billion years we are able to see *almost* back to the dawn of creation, to the Big Bang itself. As these devices and the super computers that run them continue to improve and evolve, it's only a matter of time before we can actually see the Big Bang occurring. 13.7 billion years ago.
Why is this so important and why should we spend millions of dollars studying it when for example people are starving right here in America?
Put simply, I believe that between this type of research and what NASA does every day, that if we're ever going to escape this third rock from the sun and transcend the bonds of this Earth that THIS is what will allow us to figure it all out.
This is our destiny. It has to be, look at it the next time you are way from the city lights.
Folding space, other dimensions, worm holes, and unlimited energy all lie 'out there' but we have to find it and understand it first. We've barely scratched the surface too; we don't even know what we don't know.
But when we find it, it's going to change everything, radically.
As you can tell I'm smitten with this stuff.
In fact on our trip to Hawaii I drove up to the summit of Mauna Mea three different times. Just to see it, just to be around it, just to try in my limited ability as a sound engineer and photographer to grasp the potential ramifications of what we are doing 14,000 feet up in the air, with billions of dollars in hardware. Looking at Sub Millimeter energy sources from before our galaxy was ever FORMED. There's Dark Matter and Dark Energy afoot, and when we figure it out, which we will, we'll probably be able to shelve the laws of physics and time and space as we know them.
Maybe then we'll finally get to meet those who put us here and ask them among other things: "Why the Kardashians? WHY goddamit!??" :-)
In the meantime, standing inside of the Sub Millimeter Array in the freezing cold and dead silence as it moved and tracked objects so distant we can barely grasp the distance to and between them was to say the least, awe inspiring.
You want to feel small, want to freak your kids and yourself out? Visit the telescopes on Mauna Kea sometime. Dress very warm.
I could see my shadow from the Milky Way, only the second time in my life I've seen that. Some of the light illuminating the 20 foot dish in the foreground of this image (one of eight in the array) has been traveling for over 100,000 years.
Here's the Sub Millimeter Array on Wikipedia: