Engineers support research into the universe’s origins

The telescopes in Chile Picture: UC San Diego
The telescopes in Chile Picture: UC San Diego
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THE search for the origins of the universe is being advanced with the help of air blast radiators supplied by an engineering firm.

For the past five years, specialist chilling equipment from Aqua Cooling, in Fareham, has been used in a multimillion-dollar astronomical observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Additional units have recently been fitted by the firm as more telescopes are brought in to search the skies for a particular type of cosmic wave.

Scientists at James Ax Observatory are undertaking an experiment into the polarisation of background radiation and they have already published significant findings.

The scientists’ aim is to prove the theory of inflation – that the universe grew rapidly after the big bang, inflating like a balloon.

Key to proving the theory is detecting a certain type of background radiation, which the Ax Observatory has already done.

The team’s success has led to funding for three telescopes to move the research forward.

Aqua Cooling was asked to supply more of its air blast radiators to support the new Simons Array of telescopes.

Cooling is essential because the receivers on each of the telescopes must operate at cryogenic temperatures.

Nathan Stebor of the University of California, one of several universities that are working on the project, said: ‘The original experiment has been running off an Aqua radiator for more than five years.

‘We needed more radiators to accommodate the new receivers coming online for the Simons Array and Aqua’s solution was perfect in terms of simplicity and compatibility.’

Matt Goodman, from Aqua Cooling, said: ‘Playing a part in the fascinating work going on at the James Ax Observatory demonstrates the versatility of our chilling equipment and our ability to deliver projects in some of the most remote areas of the world.

‘We have been working closely with the University of California team to add the capacity they need and build upon our existing relationship. We shall be following the next stage of their research with great interest.’