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In general, radioastronomy as well as optical astronomy depend on a good SNR. This meant to position telescopes as far as possible from noise sources. Optical telescopes were built at elevated points to reduce diffuse light from Rayleigh scattering. Radio telescopes were put into service at similar locations benefiting from shadowing effects of surrounding mountains.

Even radio quiet zones were established mainly to protect large single dish antennas.

With rising computation power available interferometry gained momentum. There are interferometers consisting of very cheap components relying on massive computing power to retrieve the signals from noise. Still, professional interferometers like MWA or LOFAR are built as far as possible from civilisation.

I wonder, if evolvement of algorithms and computing power might it make feasible to build interferometers close or even within more densely populated areas.

Of course one needs to increase the number of antennas in comparison to remote areas to reach a comparable SNR but this might be outweighted by the reduction of cost for installation and service.

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  • $\begingroup$ Algorithms don't help much when the noise to signal ratio is well over one. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Sep 29 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ "There are interferometers consisting of very cheap components relying on massive computing power to retrieve the signals from noise." Can you cite an example? I don't doubt that this could be true but it would be really great to see an example of one. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 30 at 7:28
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: I think this could be another Q&A. Very interesting! $\endgroup$ – Ariser Sep 30 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ okay then! What might some examples be of radio telescope interferometric arrays made from “cheap components relying on massive computing power”? Once an answer is posted it would be good to add a link here in this answer. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 30 at 15:31

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