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Radio astronomy is the study of celestial objects by means of the natural radio waves they emit. It tells us about the Solar System, our own Galaxy (the Milky Way), radio galaxies, quasars, and cosmology. The signals emitted by radio sources can be received from the most distant parts of the Universe, though they are very weak when they reach us. Some of the problems are fundamental, like star formation, the energy sources of pulsars, quasars and radio galaxies, and the evolution of the Universe.

There’s a hidden universe out there, radiating at wavelengths and frequencies we can’t see with our eyes. Each object in the cosmos gives off unique patterns of radio emissions that allow astronomers to get the whole picture of a distant object. Radio astronomers study emissions from gas giant planets, blasts from the hearts of galaxies, or even precisely ticking signals from a dying star.

What ARE Radio Waves?


Our eyes are built to see the cosmos in visible light. However, objects in the universe radiate many other types of light, across what’s called the “electromagnetic spectrum”. Light travels through space in waves, like ripples in a pond. Each ripple has a peak and a trough, which is called a cycle. An object emitting radio waves gives off many cycles in a very short period. During each cycle, the wave moves a short distance, which is called its wavelength.

What is Radio Astronomy?

Astronomers around the world use radio telescopes to observe the naturally occurring radio waves that come from stars, planets, galaxies, clouds of dust, and molecules of gas.

Possible Amateur Projects

1/  Meteor detection using forward scan RADAR techniques (50-150Mhz)

2/ Solar activity using VLF signals (15-40Khz)

3/ Radio Jove using HF signals to detect signals from Jupiter  (20.1Mhz)

4/ Microwave observations of the Sun (10-13Ghz)

5/ Broad band solar telescope (470-860Mhz)

DASH Astro


Radio Astronomy  by Chris Bailey

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