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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.

Featured Images

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

Radio Programs

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

False Alarm A hint of an interstellar radio station May 26, 2015

Evening Mercury Measuring a planetary day April 25, 2015

African Astronomy II New uses for old radio dishes March 25, 2015

Jupiter at Opposition A big showing for a big planet February 5, 2015

Fast Radio Bursts Mysterious outbursts of radio waves February 11, 2014

NGC 660 The glow of escaping table scraps December 16, 2013

Carbon Monoxide Tracing the birth of stars October 16, 2013

Bernard Lovell Pioneering a new way to see the universe August 28, 2013

Unseen Saturn Unseen visions of a bright planet August 20, 2013

Desert Astronomy Astronomy in a desert wasteland August 18, 2013

Galactic Bubbles Keeping food from a black hole July 23, 2013

Moon and Saturn A radio story from a giant planet July 15, 2013

ALMA Cranking up a giant new telescope March 12, 2013

Pulsar Planets Reborn from a violent demise March 11, 2013

Milky Way Matters The Milky Way bulks up February 8, 2013

Quasars IV An astronomical navigation system February 7, 2013

Molecule Factory Whipping up some complex molecules November 12, 2012

Double Heart Twin black holes in a nearby galaxy May 29, 2012

Wobbly Clocks Listening for cosmic “ripples” May 10, 2012

Centaurus A A galaxy with a loud voice April 28, 2012

Moon and Venus Resetting the clocks on Venus April 23, 2012

Planetary Flashes Lighting up the clouds of Venus February 6, 2012