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GLAST lifts off into space  (Source: UPI/NASA)
NASA launches new space telescope that will help international researchers study gamma rays

The NASA space telescope GLAST today successfully launched into space aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.  Flight engineers in Florida were concerned over possible thunderstorms and clouds in the area, but the clouds held off long enough for the launch.  

The GLAST (Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope), which endured multiple delays before launch, will help scientists measure energy in gamma rays and will take high-resolution images.  NASA also expects GLAST to help study dark matter, a phenomenon that scientists believe makes up 25 percent of mass in Earth's universe.  In addition, it will search for thousands of gamma-ray sources found in numerous galaxies.

"GLAST will give us a spectacular high-energy gamma-ray vision," said David Thompson, GLAST deputy project scientist.  "The universe looks remarkably different outside the narrow range of colors in the spectrum that we can see with our eyes."

The U.S. Department of Energy, with assistance from researchers in the U.S., Japan, Sweden, Italy, Germany and France contributed to the project.

"After a 60-day checkout and initial calibration period, we'll begin science operations," said a GLAST project scientist. "GLAST soon will be telling scientists about many new objects to study, and this information will be available on the Internet for the world to see."

The $690 million telescope was originally scheduled to launch on May 16, but was delayed more than once while engineers finished constructing the telescope and eradicated issues with the Delta II rocket.

GLAST will orbit 350 miles above the Earth's surface, at 25.6 degrees to the equator.  Engineers expect the satellite to be functional for at least 10 years.



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I'll guess..
By Clauzii on 6/11/2008 9:07:53 PM , Rating: 3
..this will do for gamma observations what Hubble have done for visuals and infrared. I'd expect some nice pictures in the future :)

Maybe even of the black holes? That would be awesome!




RE: I'll guess..
By cherrycoke on 6/11/2008 9:25:01 PM , Rating: 5
I hope so, I could use a new desktop background picture.


RE: I'll guess..
By Clauzii on 6/11/2008 10:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
I would go for 2mass sized ones and make posters :)


RE: I'll guess..
By 4wardtristan on 6/11/2008 10:16:50 PM , Rating: 4
a picture of a blackhole would suck


RE: I'll guess..
By Bruneauinfo on 6/11/2008 10:20:50 PM , Rating: 3
actually, i would find a picture of a blackhole quite attractive


RE: I'll guess..
By 4wardtristan on 6/11/2008 11:11:56 PM , Rating: 1
i would find the effectiveness of online puns at a measly 2% :(

note to self: tone of voice does not get translated through text on the internets


RE: I'll guess..
By lexluthermiester on 6/12/2008 9:38:07 AM , Rating: 2
Hey I understood the humor of your statement. Thank You for the laugh. And just because some people don't "get" it doesn't mean you should ever stop being humorous... Carry on...


RE: I'll guess..
By NicePants42 on 6/12/2008 10:32:24 AM , Rating: 2
While many may gravitate toward black holes, I'm blown away by supernovas.


RE: I'll guess..
By jasona111 on 6/11/2008 10:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
Lets find us some dark matter, yeaaaaaahahh


RE: I'll guess..
By marvdmartian on 6/12/2008 9:13:58 AM , Rating: 2
Look out! Next thing you know, they'll be looking down at URANUS!! ;)


Rediculously unnecessary
By White Widow on 6/12/2008 1:26:01 AM , Rating: 3
Generally I don't like nitpicking about typos and grammar mistakes, but this is just silly. The "Earth's universe" - really? Is there another one?

I know there are some strange theories about multiple branes and what not, but I think it's probably safe to assume that if you simply say "the universe", readers will understand it to mean the universe that includes the Earth, no?

If not, should we start referring to "my car's universe" or "the universe that includes everything ever known to exist"?




RE: Rediculously unnecessary
By RjBass on 6/12/2008 2:32:17 AM , Rating: 2
I could be wrong, but I think he meant to say "Earth's Solar System".


By geddarkstorm on 6/12/2008 1:44:06 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, considering dark matter supposedly makes up way more of the universe than 25%. They say somewhere around 8-12% is baryonic matter (the type of matter we are made out of and know) and the rest is dark matter and dark energy.


RE: Rediculously unnecessary
By Digimonkey on 6/12/2008 8:32:29 AM , Rating: 2
I laughed when I saw that in the article. I agree with the unnecessary...part of the word means 'one' after all.


context schmontext
By geonerd on 6/12/2008 2:51:21 AM , Rating: 2
yxalitis, "dark matter" simply refers to the countless areas throughout the universe which are obscured by particles that absorb light. We aren't sure what these particles are exactly. But, if you think Paul Marmet wouldn't have been thrilled at the idea of collecting hard data from an instrument like GLAST, you clearly have not done your homework.




RE: context schmontext
By yxalitis on 6/12/2008 3:30:37 AM , Rating: 2
I wish this was so...however I'm afraid you're wrong there, Dark Matter is postulated to be a "new form of matter" unlike anything else known. It is not just a grab bag name for the concept, but something specifically having the properties of mass, but which does not emit or reflect enough electromagnetic radiation to be detected.


RE: context schmontext
By Digimonkey on 6/12/2008 8:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the primary reason we know dark matter exists is because we see it's gravitational effects on other objects in space. So particles might not be the right word, as these 'objects' seem to have quite a bit of mass.


RE: context schmontext
By geddarkstorm on 6/12/2008 1:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, while not absorbing or refracting light like baryonic matter does. That's what makes it mysterious. It's "dark" not because it's black, but because it isn't black and totally invisible to light.


Good luck
By Fracture on 6/12/2008 10:23:57 AM , Rating: 2
A friend of mine has been working on this mission for years, and I just want to say good luck!
-GoH

A gamma ray is electromagnetic radiation having the highest frequency and energy, and also the shortest wavelength (below about 10 picometer), within the electromagnetic spectrum. No, it really won't turn you into the Incredible Hulk, in fact, they're quite dangerous to living things. They're also markers for cosmic events such as novas, and are emitted in a jet-like stream from black holes.




RE: Good luck
By elgueroloco on 6/13/2008 3:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
How do we know they shoot out of black holes in jets? If it is a coherent jet, then the gamma rays would never come to us and we would have no way of detecting them, unless a jet were aimed at us directly, and wouldn't that wipe out all life? Is the beam not coherent? I'm actually curious here, trying to learn. Not questioning you or being sarcastic or anything.


Gamma Ray Vision?
By lagitup on 6/11/2008 8:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
Woah! Is it like the web2.0 of peeping-toms?




hm?
By DeepBlue1975 on 6/12/2008 10:27:53 AM , Rating: 2
To talk about dark matter is a dark matter in itself.

The question is: does it matter how dark it is, or is there some darker matter to it that obscures the capability to measure the matter's darkness?

I hope this is stupid enough to not be remembered about how stupid the post is and how stupid I must be to come up with something like this... And about these two matters, I'm sorry to tell you that it'll remain dark to you, and darkness is what makes people stupid (we know that from the dark ages of our history).




Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By yxalitis on 6/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By StevoLincolnite on 6/12/2008 12:09:48 AM , Rating: 1
This is Scientific research, and scientific research has given us all the discoveries made by man, including Paracetamol which we take for granted.

Thus beating them down saying it does not exist, is like saying the world is square, and we are at the center of the solar system, like what was origionally thought.

Give it time, you may be just surprised on what they can discover.


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By yxalitis on 6/12/2008 1:01:16 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe you shouldn't assume YOu know what you're talking about...

Discovery of H2, in Space
Explains Dark Matter and Redshift

by Paul Marmet

In papers published about a decade ago, the author and colleagues predicted the widespread presence of hydrogen in the molecular (H2) form in space (Marmet and Reber 1989; Marmet 1990a,b). Although hydrogen in the atomic form is easily detected through radioastronomy, the molecular form is difficult to detect. We showed that the presence of this missing mass would explain the anomalous rotational motion observed in galaxies, which is otherwise explained by exotic hypotheses, such as swarms of invisible brown or white dwarfs, or weird atomic particles called WIMPs or axions, and "quark nuggets."

We also showed that the presence of large amounts of the hard-to-detect molecular hydrogen in interstellar space could provide an alternative explanation to the Big Bang theory, by explaining the observed redshift as a result of the delayed propagation of light through space, caused by the collision of photons with interstellar matter.

The more commonly held view explains the observed shift in frequency of the spectral lines detected from distant galaxies as arising from a Doppler shift (a shift in the frequency of a wave caused by the relative motion of the emitting object and the observer). The downshift in the frequency, toward the red end of the spectrum, is taken to mean that distant galaxies are receding from us, thus implying an expanding universe.

Our prediction, based on a critique of many of the commonly held assumptions of cosmology, was the result of a serious study of the molecular structure of hydrogen and of the astronomical observation of atomic hydrogen in space. However, the astrophysicists preferred to ignore H2, and instead to hypothesize the existence of weird objects.

Using the European Space Agency's Infrared Space Observatory, E. A. Valentijn and P. P. van der Werf recently detected huge amounts of molecular hydrogen (H2) in NGC 891 , an edge-on galaxy 30 million light-years away in Andromeda (Valentijn and van der Werf 1999). In their report, published in September 1999, they state that their result "matches well, the mass required to solve the problem of the missing mass of spiral galaxies." They conclude that the galaxy contains 5 to 15 times more molecular than atomic hydrogen. [For a second Internet news story on this discovery click here .]

It is generally accepted that atomic hydrogen is by far the most abundant particle in the universe. It is also well established that about 10 times as much molecular hydrogen as atomic hydrogen solves the missing mass problem. Finally, Valentijn adds: "The halo culture that has grown up around the dark matter problem might never have arisen if the ISO results had been known earlier."

Two months after the publication of this discovery, in a piece published in Nature, Nov. 25, 1999, P. Richter, et al. reported the discovery of the absorption lines of molecular hydrogen in a high-velocity cloud of the Milky Way halo (Richter et al. 1999).


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By achintya on 6/12/2008 6:13:22 AM , Rating: 2
If it were all that easy, and molecular hydrogen would explain everything, including being the 'dark matter', that scientists have been looking for, then hundreds of scientists worldwide wouldn't be wasting time (18 years????) and public money(Billions!!) over it. There has to be something more to it.


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By mvpx02 on 6/12/2008 8:31:34 AM , Rating: 2
this certainly wouldn't be the first time science got it wrong, look at how much time & money is being wasted on humanity's debatable impact on global climate change.

Ultimately science is based as much on ruling out non-truths as it is based on proving thruths.

That being said, dark matter is known to exist, we've just only ever been able to detect very trace amounts of it.


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By sqrt1 on 6/12/2008 7:11:55 AM , Rating: 2
There is also the MOND ideas that try to explain things without having to make up invisible stuff to make equations work..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOND

Perhaps dark matter is the "ether" of our age?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminiferous_ether


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By geddarkstorm on 6/12/2008 2:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
MOND does not solve the problem of gravitational lensing by invisible and enormous amounts of mass.

Nor is there any experimental evidence only explained by MOND; as it should be easily verifiable since all you have to do is use very low levels of force and see if it's proportional to acceleration still or not (not being as MOND would have it). This can be done easily for instance using lasers and force traps where you can get down to femto forces or below. So far as I've ever seen, even at the atomic level, minuscule amounts of force still are proportional to acceleration (the momentum levels of light also kinda verify this). We call this, by the way, temperature. And you'll notice that temperature is proportional with atomic motion.

So, if MOND is real, it kinda shoots the third law of thermal dynamics out the window--but the third law has held pretty dang well, so I'm pretty sure MOND isn't real.

Yes, the MOND theorists say because we are orbiting around the Sun even particles would have an acceleration above ao, however, that's only in one vector. If MOND is right, it should work in all vectors equally, since F=ma does. So then, movement in a vector plane different but not opposite to the Sun-Earth orbital plane should have experimentally observable levels of MOND.


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By geddarkstorm on 6/12/2008 1:55:49 PM , Rating: 2
Um, all this falls apart fast when you remember that molecular hydrogen absorbs infrared radiation. "Dark matter" does not--it neither absorbs nor refracts infrared, something which molecular hydrogen does do especially at the masses required to cause gravitational lensing as we've seen it. More over, only something 2 or 4% of all the baryonic matter in the universe, compared to the levels of gravity in the universe, has been accounted for. Even if molecular hydrogen is 10 times more abundant than atomic hydrogen, it would not make up for the missing 95% of matter!

We can already measure the amount of atomic dust in interstellar space, including molecular hydrogen. And, our probes have been measuring the density of hydrogen in space, and it's already included in the 2-4% accounted for matter of the universe numbers. Sorry, but "dark matter" is not molecular hydrogen, no matter how you split the hairs.


By StevoLincolnite on 6/12/2008 8:39:36 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you shouldn't jump the gun, I never stated anything about "Dark Matter" - I was merely suggesting they have to research something in order to find out.

Most scientist go by the idea of "Everything is true, unless proven false", or vice versa.


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By melgross on 6/12/2008 12:45:39 AM , Rating: 2
Learn some physics and chemistry before you make foolish remarks.

Neutral hydrogen isn't "inert", and has nothing to do with dark matter.

There are far better educated people than yourself working on these problems. Give them some credit that they know a bit more than you do.


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By yxalitis on 6/12/2008 1:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
See above^^


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By Goty on 6/12/2008 3:27:39 AM , Rating: 3
"Dark Matter" just refers to any matter we haven't yet detected. Neutrinos and even these high-velocity H2 clouds you've alluded to were all likely candidates for dark matter at one time only because they had not yet been detected. You're probably thinking of non-baryonic matter as soon as you hear the term dark matter, which is still a possibility, but not the only one.

As for your assertion that H2 is inert, it most certainly is not. H2 is readily observable in the correct bands.

Also, as for your skepticism about the big bang, could you please give me another possibility that explains phenomena in our current universe nearly as well? The Big Bang theory isn't perfect, but it's certainly the best we've got at the moment.


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By geddarkstorm on 6/12/2008 2:28:05 PM , Rating: 2
Neutrinos are non-baryonic particles :P (they are fermions like electrons), and they might make up some or all of dark matter. However, if they do, that would require astronomical levels of neutrinos to cause the observed gravitational lensing effects (their mass is extremely minuscule compared to electrons, and some theory proposes that neutrinos have no actual mass; and thus could not make gravity or be "dark matter"). How in the world would you make nearly so many and keep them all in some localized cloud? It's a very interesting subject.

BTW, free neutrons have a half life of only 10 minutes before they decay into other subatomic particles or protons, so dark matter isn't some mass amount of neutrons. Supposedly there's tons of other types of possible baryonic particles in the Standard Model (around 168 or something!), so maybe dark matter is one of those that just happens to not interact with light in any way except gravitationally. Quite indeed possible.


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By Goty on 6/12/2008 4:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
You're definitely correct, but you know that I mean previously undetected, non-emitting elementary or higher-order particles when I say that. =P


RE: Dark Mater Shmnark Matter
By Ramshambo on 6/12/2008 8:45:35 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah your right, we should just bring the telescope back. We obviously know everything there is to know about the universe anyways.


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