here to go to our page on radiometric receivers
here to go to our page on microwave imaging (new for November
Radio astronomy is yet another
cool use of the microwave frequency spectrum!
History of radio astronomy
During W.W.II, at the Rad
Lab, Robert H Dicke invented the Dicke radiometer, which later
proved to have broad application in radio astronomy. Dicke appears
in in our Microwave
Hall of Fame!
In 1952 radio astronomy was born,
thanks to the efforts of two Harvard researchers, Harold Irving
Ewen and Edward Mills Purcell. Check out their entry in the Microwave
Hall of Fame!
This came from The Unknown Engineer
who raises and excellent point:
IMHO, Grote Reber predates
them. According to NRAO's
URL, Grote Reber was already making radio astronomy observation
in 1938 to 1943. The IEEE also regards Reber as the Papa of radio
Allan Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson discovered the microwave
background radiation that confirmed the Big Bang theory in 1964.
Not only this this win the a Nobel Prize for Physics, but it also
landed them in the Microwave Hall of Fame!
Here's some other radio-astronomy-related
content on Microwaves101:
here to go to our page on cryo-cooling
Some radio astronomy links
Some of this information about
radio telescopes comes from an engineer at the National Radio Astronomy
Here is a link to a spectacular
collapse of the Greenbank 300 ft telescope (antenna), 1988:
This engineering disaster certainly
ranks up there with the Tacoma
Here is a link to radio astronomy
references with many links to other radio astronomy websites:
Every specialty has its own "bible".
In radio astronomy it's "Interferometry and Synthesis in
Radio Astronomy by A. Richard Thompson, James M. Moran, and
George W. Swenson.
The website for the NRAO is www.nrao.edu
and for the new international Atacama (a desert in Chile) Large
Millimeter Array (ALMA) is http://www.alma.nrao.edu.
ALMA will work up to 950 GHz!
Currently the hot topics in
radio astronomy are: "Stellar Nurseries" and "The
Epoch of Re-ionization" (occurred "shortly" after
the big bang). Please don't bother sending complaints to this web
site if you are a "creationist", here's the response you'll
get: just because you believe it, doesn't make it so.
Another interesting thing. All
the planets in the solar system are in the near-field of the Very
Large Array (VLA).
We need to dispel one myth about
radio astronomy. This worthy topic has really nothing to do with
SETI. Mentioning this organization
prominently on the same page as radio astronomy will probably annoy
the astronomers so much that they'll never return. Occasionally,
those-that-shall-not-be-named have scheduled time to use radio astronomy
equipment or sites, like Arecibo. But for the most part the confusion
between radio astronomy and those-that-shall-not-be-named annoys
the heck out of radio astronomers. It's comparable the assumption
that microwave engineers would like to repair their neighbor's broken
ovens, a misconception we battle all the time.
More to come!