Unique sensitive camera will probe mysteries of star formation

A group of astronomers at Arizona State University is developing a uniquely sensitive camera, named  TolTEC, to probe the mysteries of star formation.

A team headed by Professor Philip Mauskopf of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) will design and construct optics for the camera as well as electronics for producing images from the instrument’s super conducting detectors.

This international project has been awarded more than $6 million in funding from National Science Foundation to build the camera.

Mauskopf said “Half the light from stars in universe is absorbed by clouds of interstellar dust and then re- radiated along wavelengths invisible to the human eye Head. Astronomical observations at these wavelengths can let us see into the cores of stellar nurseries where new stars are forming”.

The new camera will be attached to giant telescope in Mexico, which is a largest telescope in the world designed to operate at a wavelength of 1 millimeter. On top of the 15,000 foot Sierra Negra in the state of Puebla sits the Large Millimeter Telescope (as shown in the picture above), with a 50-meter (164-foot) diameter main mirror. The biggest project in the history of the Mexico will be construct with the help of University of Massachusetts,

Over the next three years, an international consortium, led by UMass, will build the golf-cart-size ToITEC cryogenic camera for the Large Millimeter Telescope. This telescope will help to study the universe in detail by imaging radiation from dust at millimeter-wavelengths covering large area of sky.

Postdoctoral scholar Sean Bryan, electrical engineer Hamdi mani, mechanical engineer Matt Underhill, a graduate student and NASA Earth and Space Science fellow Sam Gordan and Barrett Honors College student Rhys Kelso will accompany Mauskopf in this project.

The camera will be mounted on the Large Millimeter Telescope, when completed. After completion it begin a two-year program of three large sky surveys, which will be worked out in consultation with the international astronomical community, covering hundreds of square degrees.

The survey will target the region with known dust clouds in our own galaxy as well as the region where there is relatively little local dust.

 Other partners in TolTEC include the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, Cardiff University (UK), and the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Mexico.


The author Charitz

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