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Radio astronomy is a relatively new science compared to optical astronomy.  There are  however many sites on the internet with additional detailed information; click LINKS.  Many heavenly bodies emit electromagnetic radiation as well as light radiation.  The ionosphere which reflects radio waves is a nuisance to radio astronomy.  Fortunately there are waves that can penetrate the ionosphere without undue absorption or reflection.  The radio frequency range of most importance to radio astronomy therefore is approximately from 1 centimeter to 10 meters.  Our sun radiates electromagnetic waves and can be studied during daylight hours.  The more distant objects radiating electromagnetic waves are observed during night time hours.  This is similar to optical astronomic observation.   The radio telescope antennas must be necessarily fairly large.  Not long ago, even at one meter it required an antenna of the size of the Jodrell Bank radio telescope to produce a beam width of one degree.  Many new advances in technology, antenna design and low noise amplifiers have made smaller antennas a real possibility today.  Antennas as small as six feet in diameter to around 20 feet in diameter are possible for the backyard amateur radio astronomer.  Important work with smaller and smaller antennas is the new frontier of radio astronomy. 

You can learn the basics of radio astronomy by downloading this FREE pdf document.


 There are ways the amateur can participate in radio astronomy without constructing large dishes. Much of this will consist of researching information in books, magazines and internet resources.   William Lonc wrote a book on the subject.   Studies of HF propagation and HF noise is also related and of interest.  Interception of Jupiter's emissions around 18-22 Mhz are also possible at times with the proper receiving equipment (HF receiver), antennas, and orientation of the antenna toward Jupiter.  See the Jupiter's emissions link for details.  Be sure to look for and listen to the Jupiter sound files found on that site.

RADIO JOVE PROJECT - Don't miss the NASA and JPL Radio Jove project.  It includes a complete radio telescope kit with antenna you can easily build.  The free software provides computer logging of your Jovian listening projects.  Find out more about this exciting radio telescope project you can be involved in by clicking HERE http://radiojove.gsfc.nasa.gov/.

VLA Images of Outburst from Black Hole Binary Star System
Dramatic Outburst Reveals Nearest Black Hole to Earth

A dramatic outburst September 1999 showed scientists that a previously-known variable star in the constellation Sagittarius has a hungry black hole as a companion. Only 1,600 light-years away, it is the closest known black hole. Rapidly drawing material from the star, the black hole caused an outburst of X-rays, light and radio waves. The Very Large Array radio telescope observed a "jet" of subatomic particles shot out at nearly the speed of light from this system. The two images at left, made only 30 minutes apart, show significant change; the image at right, made two days later, shows that the outburst quickly faded, leaving only a weakly-emitting core.
More ....

Note:  VLA = Very Large Array Radio Telescope.

Click:  LINKS to view a large listing of internet links related to radio astronomy.
Click;  The History of Astronomy

Click;  Radio Astronomy Telescope Project
An 5.2-meter amateur radio telescope for 1420 MHz is described.

Basics of Radio Astronomy

Click;  Amateur Radio Astronomy Resources
A site specializing in amateur radio astronomy. Lots of free information for students, teachers, and amateur scientists.

Click;  Radio Astronomy Supplies
Your International Supplier of Quality Radio Astronomy Products

Click; The University of Calgary Radio Astronomy Laboratory

Click;  Radio Astronomy and SETI - Big Ear Radio Observatory
This Kraus-type radio telescope, larger than three football fields, was famous for the Wow! Signal and for the longest-running SETI project.

Click;   NRAO - National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Click;  Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy, Bonn, Germany. It is the home institution of the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope, the 100m antenna of Effelsberg, which has been successfully operated since August 1972.

Click;  Cavendish Astrophysics Homepage
Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory.

The Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers

EME, SETI, Radio Astronomy and DSP for Radio Amateurs (W6/PA0ZN)

Radio Astronomy for Scientists Teachers and Students

Amateur Radio Astronomy

Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers

Ham Radio and Radio Astronomy

The SETI League, Inc.: Amateur Radio and Radio Astronomy Links


The Stanback Planetarium Amateur Radio Astronomy Webpage and WebRing

Why Radio Astronomy?

Amateur Radio Astronomy : Operating Modes: Amateur Radio Astronomy

Radio Astronomy and Space Science

Amateur Radio Astronomy FAQ

Information for Amateur Radio Astronomers

Amateur radio astronomy with SIMPLE 20 MHz arrays

radio-telescope for radio astronomy

JAS: Observing Meteors by Radio

Open Directory - Science: Astronomy: Amateur: Radio Astronomy


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