Outer space isn't as empty as once was thought -- the spaces between the stars are filled with very thin but enormous clouds of gasses.
Outer space isn't as empty as once was thought -- the spaces between the stars are filled with very thin but enormous clouds of gasses.Atomic hydrogen is the only substance detected to date by radio means.
Today four radio astronomers from MIT, with key support from the U.S.Air Force, announced another important discovery -- the detection of hydrogen combined with oxygen, forming and complete molecule called."Hydroxl Radical".
The giant antenna at Millstone Hill and Boston, Massachusetts, built by MIT Lincoln Laboratory for Air Force radar research, is used to pick up the faint radio signals from outerspace.
The signals radiate out from a radio source -- a sort of "radio star" -- called Cassiopeia A -- and travel to earth through the interstellar clouds of gasses which absorb and modify them during their journey.
These radio signals are detected by a low-noise receiver on the right -- and partly analyzed by a digital coordinator, the three cabinets on the left.
This instrument, which helped to make the discovery possible, was designed and developed by..
Dr.Sander Weinreb of Lincoln Laboratory while he was a graduate student at MIT.
The signals from space are...
analyzed by these instruments and passed on to an electronic digital computer,...
the third major instrument which helps the scientists.
Here at the control console of the computer are Dr.Weinreb and Mr.John C.Henry, a regular member of the staff at Millstone Hill.The CG-24 computer analyzes the absorption of radio energy by clouds of interstellar gasses and the newly discovered hydroxl radical.
The OH radical was discovered by its absorption of radio energy at two different frequencies.
Here at the computer are three of the four project scientists which also included Professor Allen H.Barrett of the Research Laboratory of Electronics at MIT who could not be present when these pictures were taken.
Dr.Littleton Meeks of Lincoln Laboratory was instrumental in the discovery of the hydroxl radical...
after it had been suggested in 1953 that the sub-molecular atomic combination could exist.
Analysis of the radio frequency spectrum...
showed a marked day in the received energy...
which indicated energy absorption the existence of the radical.
The hydroxl radical frequency line is many times weaker than that of "space noise".
The OH radical is very unstable and does not exist naturally on earth,but it does exist naturally on outer space.
Through radio-astronomy, scientists can study this material even more precisely than would be the case in an earth-bound laboratory -- the hydroxl radical in space -- a discovery of major significance to astronomers and astro-physicists -- helping mankind to expand his knowledge of space.