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The first reading from a cosmic "uranium clock" using The European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very-large Telescope (VLT) UV-Visual Echelle Spectrograph came out this month. The Chilean-based VLT is the world's largest optical telescope array. It holds a visual spectograph that was used to measure the amount of the radioactive isotope Uranium-238 in a star named CS 31082-001 that was born when our galaxy was still forming, the first measurement ever of uranium outside the Solar System. This press release from ESO talks about the VLT and spectograph, the Uranium dating method used, and the implications that the measurements hold for the history of the universe. A graph of intensity vs. wavelength for the uranium spectrum of old star CS 31082-001 and a telescope image of the star are included (.jpeg - choice of pixel resolution).
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Date Issued c2001
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2001-02-28
Archived Scout Publication URL

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