Science: New Ear to the Heavens

In astronomy these days, the best results are often achieved by those who listen rather than look. The listeners are radio astronomers, whose vast antennas scan the skies for squawks, beeps and hums that tell them more about the universe than the eye can see. In the past decade, radio astronomers have made a host of discoveries: quasars, pulsars, free-floating molecules in the lonely reaches between the stars. They have even detected what may be a faint echo of the original Big Bang, the great explosion that some scientists think marked the creation of the stars and galaxies.

Now radio astronomers are...

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