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Radio Astronomy

A very unenergetic wavelength, or frequency, of light. Radio waves are the least energetic form of radiation known. They have wavelengths longer than 10^-3 meters and frequencies less than 10^11 Hz. Radio waves are not harmful to life because they are not strong enough to ionize atoms or destroy cells. While the Earth’s atmosphere shields us from some radio radiation, it does allow radio waves in the vicinity of VHF, UHF, and FM frequencies to pass through. Astronomers study waves that pass through this “radio window” with large radio telescopes or antennas, which resemble giant satellite dishes. Often, many radio antennas are coordinated together to synthesize even bigger telescopes, such as the Very Large Array in New Mexico. In addition to astronomy, radio waves have many useful applications on Earth, such as television and radio broadcasts and RADAR.

Radio Programs

Rapid Birth Making planets in a hurry September 17, 2020

Heaviest Neutron Star Peeking into the heart of a dead star September 3, 2020

Post-War Astronomy II Opening a new field of astronomy September 2, 2020

Pulsar Searches Searching for cosmic voices February 12, 2020

Robert Leighton Tinkering his way to Mars September 10, 2019

Dark Companion Black holes in the heart of the galaxy July 31, 2019

Transients Flickering stars in the distant universe April 27, 2019

Radio Survey Mapping the radio sky March 15, 2019

Galactic Magnet A giant magnet at the heart of the galaxy March 6, 2019

Timing a Black Hole Delicate timing for a dead star October 26, 2018

Martin Ryle A better way to view the universe September 27, 2018

South-Pole Astronomy Science at the bottom of the world August 9, 2018

New Telescope A new eye on the radio sky August 8, 2018

Radar Asteroids Tracking asteroids with radar June 14, 2018

Embryonic Planet? A possible new planet around a new star May 2, 2018

Pulsars V Some amazing projects for students December 1, 2017

Pulsars Discovering a “scruffy” star November 27, 2017

Harold Weaver Probing a “mysterious” molecule September 27, 2017

Radio Power Sailing on a “breeze” of radio waves May 24, 2017

Closing In A busy, far-away source of radio waves May 23, 2017

Loud Sun Listening in on the Sun February 27, 2017

Fast Bursts Explaining a new kind of outburst January 18, 2017

War Surplus Reflections on war-time astronomy December 9, 2016

Calling the Neighbors Placing a call to the neighbors November 10, 2016

Searching for Neighbors II Eavesdropping on the galaxy November 8, 2016

Big Dish Dishing up a giant new telescope September 11, 2016

Moon and Mercury A close but elusive planet April 8, 2016

Planetary Pebbles Ingredients for a giant planet February 14, 2016

Interferometry II Sharpening the view of the stars February 9, 2016

Featured Images

Artist's concept of a rotating disk galaxy in the early universe

Ancient Galaxy May 26, 2020

Composite image showing sites of possible ice deposits on Mercury

Icy Darkness November 24, 2019

Radio observatory on the Moon

Looking Deep May 21, 2019

Galactic Nurseries March 11, 2019

ALMA view of jets and outflows from a newborn star

Busy Baby February 27, 2019

pulsar schematic

Busy Corpse November 27, 2017

Combined radio and visual view of the Perseus galaxy cluster

Hot Halo June 21, 2017

ALMA view of an explosion in the Orion Nebula

Violent Starbirth April 7, 2017

ALMA view of a sunspot

Giant Storm January 19, 2017

Radio image of Jupiter

Jovian Radio June 7, 2016

Jets from a protostar in Serpens

Huffing and Puffng November 6, 2015

Radio view of asteroid 2015 TB145, which will pass close to Earth on Halloween

Boo! October 31, 2015

View of a newly forming planetary system around the young star HL Tauri

Planet Tracks November 6, 2014

Jetting Across the Universe August 12, 2014

Lightning behind space shuttle Discovery

Just Whistle September 19, 2013

Cassini monitors Saturn's magnetic field

Radio Story July 16, 2013

Planetary nebula R Leporis

Stellar Twister October 11, 2012

Combined X-ray, optical, and radio view of the galaxy Centaurus A

Busy Galaxy April 29, 2012

Optical and radio image of the Carina Nebula, a vast stellar nursery

Birthplace of the Stars November 17, 2011

Radio image of the Antenna galaxies

Boundless Starbirth October 5, 2011

Stars and gas swirl around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way

Swirling Center September 27, 2011

X-ray and radio image of galaxy M87

Close to the Monster March 10, 2011

A multi-spectral view of a supernova remnant in the Small Magellanic Cloud

Life from Death September 17, 2010

M87 black hole

Busy Black Hole August 11, 2010

The Milky Way galaxy and the afterglow of the Big Bang make up this all-sky imag

A Little of Everything July 6, 2010

Turning On, Tuning In April 12, 2010