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Cosmic Ghosts



This month, The Sky at Night has a spooky twist. Across the universe, there are hidden objects that we can’t see, but astronomers and scientists still believe they’re out there. To find out how we know that these mysterious objects exist, the team are going ghost-hunting. Cosmic ghost-hunting. \n\nProf Chris Lintott and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock are at Provan Hall, one of the oldest buildings in Glasgow and the site of several supposed ghost sightings across its 550-year history. But they aren’t looking for anything supernatural. Instead, they’re meeting the scientists and astronomers trying to solve some of the universe’s greatest mysteries by finding new ways to sense what surrounds us in the cosmos. \n\nIn the medieval rooms of Provan Hall, Chris meets Dr Olivia Jones from the UK Astronomy Centre and discovers how a tool often employed by ghost hunters is actually great for finding objects hidden in the dust of the cosmos. He also meets Prof Tessa Baker from the University of Portsmouth, who shows him how ripples in space-time are helping scientists to detect new, unseen cosmic events. And while scanning the house for spooky sounds, Maggie hears a voice from the past, which leads her to uncover the wonderful work of Vera Rubin – a trailblazing astronomer who helped to prove the existence of dark matter.\n\nAcross the country, and over a kilometre further below the Earth’s surface, guest presenter Prof Chamkaur Ghag is at the Boulby Underground Laboratory. While there, he discovers how the incredible research site has changed since Patrick Moore and The Sky at Night team visited 20 years ago and meets some of the Boulby team who are working on the hunt for ghostly dark matter particles.\n\nMeanwhile, Pete Lawrence is at the Bedford School Observatory to show us how to find and photograph inky, ghost-like objects in the sky known as dark nebulae, and to tell us what to look out for in the night sky over the next month.

Source: BBC 4

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