Questions tagged [radio-astronomy]

Questions about observations performed in the radio frequency range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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How does the Event Horizon Telescope implement the interferometry?

The BBC article Event Horizon Telescope ready to image black hole describes the Event Horizon Telescope, a coordinated observing technique with several radio telescope arrays across the globe forming ...
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10 votes
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Why aren't ground-based observatories using adaptive optics for visible wavelengths?

Adaptive Optics (AO) techniques allow ground based observatories to dramatically improve resolution by actively compensating for the effects of Astronomical Seeing. The atmospheric effects are quite ...
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Would Adaptive Optics be Useful in Radio Astronomy?

The question Why is this video showing radio waves transmitted from a radio telescope? and this answer to it got me thinking. If atmospheric seeing at visible wavelengths is the result of refractive ...
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4 votes
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What is the highest granularity focal-plane array on a dish radio telescope? Or is this the ONLY ONE?

There is a short Wikipedia article Focal Plane Arrays that enumerates some projects, but my question is more along the lines of what is (at least) nearly complete or in "first light" phase, even if ...
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8 votes
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Math behind a uv plot in interferometry?

I've seen standard uv plots used discussions of interferometric array designs regularly, and I have a vague idea that each arc may correspond to a pair of elements within the array, and the ...
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6 votes
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How does ALMA produce stable, mutually coherent ~THz local oscillators for all of their dishes?

The ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array) radio telescope's band-10 capabaility is now operational, per this answer. That's confirmed by NRAO's First Science with ALMA’s Highest-...
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Why the blank wedges in this very early 21 cm map of the Milky Way? (Oort et al. 1958)

Jan Oort was a pioneer in radio astronomy. Wikipedia says: It has been written that “Oort was probably the first astronomer to realize the importance” of radio astronomy. “In the days before radio ...
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2 votes
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How did single dish (or single receiver) radio telescopes originally generate images?

That actually sums up my question nicely: How did single dish (or single receiver) radio telescopes originally generate images? - or at least 2D intensity maps or contour plots. Early radio ...
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What can be learned from low frequency radio astronomy available outside of Earth's ionosphere?

As discussions and answers to How large does refraction become in radioastronomy? point out, it is difficult to do radio astronomy much below 30 MHz (or 10 MHz depending on how aggressive you are in ...
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Do stars have "radio photospheres"? Are they different from their optical photospheres?

Comments below What is the maximum distance measurable with parallax? discuss challenges associated with parallax measurements of Betelgeuse and link to Wikipedia’s Betelgeuse; Distance measurements ...
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2 votes
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How far have individual stars been seen by radio telescopes?

Writing this answer got me thinking. As far as I understand it, stars themselves radiate most of their energy at optical wavelengths (near-IR through near-UV). Various types of stellar objects may ...
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Why did it take five years to "figure out" how to use astrometric calibration sources to deblur LOFAR images?

Quanta Magazine's The Hidden Magnetic Universe Begins to Come Into View is a fascinating review of a rapidly evolving field in astronomy. It contains some statements: In their paper last year, van ...
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7 votes
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How large does refraction become in radioastronomy?

For atmospheric refraction of visible light, Wikipedia gives the order of 1 arc minute at 45° altitude above the horizon, and 5.3 arc minutes at 10°. This is caused by the dielectric polarizability of ...
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12 votes
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How did Arecibo detect methane lakes on Titan, and image Saturn's rings?

This answer to Farthest distance to a solar system object that's been measured by radar? mentions that Saturn's rings, and the Uncover Travel post Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico – The World’s ...
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What causes "North-South ambiguity" when doppler radar imaging a planet surface equator?

I'm having a hard time understanding why there would be this ambiguity. Also, why would this be not the case if the planet was viewed pole on? Edit: "North South ambiguity" is a term used in ...
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Is there another explanation, apart from the doppler effect, for the redshift observed in distant galaxies?

On episode 10 of the original Cosmos TV series, Carl Sagan mentions that some scientist don't agree that the redshift observed in distant galaxies is evidence of the big bang, stating that probably ...
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1 answer
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Will the first Event Horizon Telescope image of the Milky Way's black hole Sgr A* just be another lumpy orange donut?

@HDE226868's answer to Why doesn't the black hole in the center of the Milky Way glow similarly to the famous M87 image? explains that neither black hole is orange and any Event Horizon Telescope ...
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Which techniques are used to convert radio signals received by antenna to images?

I realized that after answering the question How do astronomers convert radio signals received by their antenna to images? I had missed the point that the OP was only asking about software. I've ...
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3 votes
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Would "layered" radio interferometry work?

tl;dr - Is splitting up the process of interferometry as shown in the diagram possible, and if so, is it more efficient and/or easier than traditional methods? I have been doing some research into ...
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33 votes
4 answers
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What will succeed the Arecibo Observatory?

Just a few minutes ago, I got a notification from Space.com stating that the Arecibo Observatory will be, sadly, decommissioned due to extensive damage to its structure. So, with the loss of one of ...
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6 votes
7 answers
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Radio telescope targeting

How do you target a radio telescope on the precise object you wish to observe? You can point it in the general direction but how do you get the information from the exact point in the sky that you are ...
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Requirements to resolve position of Jovian Whistlers up to magnitude of Red Spot with amateur radio equipment?

Can I sense a bright star pointing an eight foot antenna towards it? is a while ago, but the discussion about this question I found very interesting. Please forgive me that I am not an expert in ...
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8 votes
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Why are the ALMA receivers' ADCs only 3-bits?

above: Table 1 from Performance Highlights of the ALMA Correlators The ALMA receivers use 3-bit ADCs for what would seem to be to be a high dynamic range application needing much finer quantization ...
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4 votes
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Can SETI certify whether or not Proxima b is inhabited by beings using electromagnetic communication?

Can SETI certify whether or not Proxima b is inhabited by beings using electromagnetic communication? By certify I mean by past, present or future observations using technologies available.
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3 votes
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Current topics on Radio Astronomy and looking for advice

Background and Question: I'm an undergraduate student interested on Radio Astronomy. I consider myself enthusiastic about it and I project myself following this "path" so I'd like, ...
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1 answer
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In the 1950's how were radio-astrometric positions with portable dishes so precise they could be assigned to their dim optical counterparts (Quasars)?

In my question Why are quasars so far away that they couldn't be optically resolved in the 1950's? I included the following short paragraph, but then added strikethrough to the second sentence ...
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52 votes
4 answers
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Is there any role today that would justify building a large single dish radio telescope to replace Arecibo?

It seems that most of the modern radio astronomy instruments and observation that make the news are interferometers or phased array systems of one kind of another. Is there any application left for ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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How big a dish do I need for radio astronomy?

I've recently become interested in the idea of building my own small-scale radio telescope. A quick online search finds a few instructions on how to build this using a satellite dish. These suggest a ...
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6 votes
3 answers
352 views

How can the Event Horizon Telescope image Sgr A* when it's not visible from all sites at one time?

I went to https://eventhorizontelescope.org/array and read about the ten sites listed as part of the EHT, I have a mashed-up screen shot of them below. I made a little script also shown below with ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Building a floating, ocean-going giant radio telescope?

Given the loss of the Arecibo telescope: Is anybody aware of any efforts or studies towards a floating, ocean-going radio telescope of with 500m diameter or more? The idea is floating (pun intended) ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Just how fast is a Fast Radio Burst thought to be?

According to Wikipedia;s Fast Radio Bursts; Frequencies and dispersion are recorded they The component frequencies of each burst are delayed by different amounts of time depending on the ...
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15 votes
2 answers
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Has radio astronomy ever been done on objects that appear very close to the Moon? Is this avoided?

This answer to Which kinds of astronomical observations most need to avoid the Moon being up? mentions For completeness - radio, mid-infrared and mm-wave observations are unaffected (unless the ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What exactly is interplanetary scintillation; what was the Interplanetary Scintillation Array looking for? Did it successfully observe any?

The Interplanetary Scintillation Array is the radioastronomy observatory (i.e. big antenna) where the first pulsar was discovered by then graduate student Jocelyn Bell Burnell through careful and ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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What is precipitable water vapor in millimeter-wave radioastronomy and how is it measured?

Looking through ALMA on-line documentation and articles, the quantity PWV (precipitable water vapor) is a central theme. I have two linked questions. What (actually) is precipitable water vapor, and ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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How is it determined that the X-ray and radio intensity come from a magnetic field bridge between two clusters of galaxies?

Gizmodo's Astronomers Spot Mysterious, 10-Million-Light-Year-Long Magnetic Field Connecting Two Galaxy Clusters shows the image below, and Space.com's A Weird 'Radio Bridge' 10 Million-Light Years ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How will they know when to start taking the picture of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way?

@csm's answer to Why not take a picture of a closer black hole? points out that it's necessary for the supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy to be actively feeding for it to generate a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Has optical interferometry been done at radio frequency using heterodyning with a laser in a nonlinear material?

If one collects narrow band optical emission from a large telescope with frequency $f_1$ and mixes it in a nonlinear crystal with laser light of a nearby frequency $f_2$, it would produce two new ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How do ASKAP's focal plane phased array feeds interact with the entire array phasing?

Sky & Telescope's ASKAP Joins the Hunt for Mysterious Bursts says: A new telescope, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), has joined the search for energetic and elusive ...
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18 votes
4 answers
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Jupiter FM - What are practical and inexpensive ways for the amateur detection of signals from Jupiter, especially of the transit of her moons?

What modifications to a standard AM/FM or shortwave radio are needed in order to be able to detect radio-wave signals emitted from Jupiter? Would it be possible to detect the transit of the major ...
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11 votes
3 answers
370 views

What else could the Event Horizon Telescope Observe?

The Event Horizon Telescope was made possible in order to observe the details of supermassive black holes. This took a huge amount of work installing extra telescopes and developing the hardware and ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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Can one build a distributed radio telescope?

I understand some radio telescopes are built as arrays of receivers. Could one build an array from a heterogeneous set of receivers in scattered locations? Suppose a large number of persons each ...
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

What kind of things I could "see" with an amateur radio telescope?

There are apparently not many reasonably priced radio telescopes available for the amateur users. I only could find a SPIDER 230C 2.3 meter diameter compact radio telescope, which costs ~10 k€. ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Recommend a radio calibration target for amateur radio telescope

I have a small antenna and radio system that can receive frequencies between 1MHz and 1GHz. The system has a discone antenna. I plan to do some aperture synthesis based on the daily rotation of the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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In astronomical interferometry, what values do the points in the uv-plane have?

As I understand it, the image of an interferometer is the inverse fourier transform of the information in the uv plane. For each baseline (vector between any two telescopes in the array), representing ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Is there any work underway to push the long baseline capabilities of the Event Horizon Telescope to sub-millimeter wavelengths?

The Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy's press release Something is Lurking in the Heart of Quasar 3C 279; First Event Horizon Telescope Images of a Black-Hole Powered Jet shows a stunning ...
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6 votes
1 answer
761 views

Radio Astronomy and Imaging

So, I've been starting to investigate radio astronomy, and am wondering about if certain things are possible from an amateur standpoint. I was looking at this powerpoint(that discusses building a tiny ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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How often are radio telescopes used to measure parallax? When was this first done?

The abstract of A magnetar parallax (also in MNRAS) says: TE J1810-197 (J1810) was the first magnetar identified to emit radio pulses, and has been extensively studied during a radio-bright phase in ...
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4 votes
2 answers
665 views

How is the field of view of a radio telescope determined?

It’s my understanding that radio telescopes can only receive signals that hit the dish within a certain range of angles. How is that angular range determined i.e. measured and/or calculated?
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3 votes
3 answers
210 views

What was the field of view of the Ohio State University Radio Observatory of Wow! signal fame?

This answer to Did comets 266P/Christensen or P/2008 Y2 (Gibbs) cause the Wow! signal? points out that the comets in question were nowhere near where the radio telescope was pointed. Wikipedia says ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Plot of best available resolution vs wavelength - radio through gamma rays?

What I'm looking for is a graphic that shows in a general way the best available telescope resolution vs wavelength throughout the entire wavelength spectrum. So for example, there might be two very ...
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