Glossary term: Radio Astronomy

Description: Radio astronomy is the branch of astronomy utilizing observations made by radio telescopes that receive radio waves. Observing frequencies range from an upper limit of about 300 gigahertz down to tens of megahertz. Radio astronomy allows astronomers to observe the emission from cold gas in galaxies, from atomic hydrogen, and from highly energetic objects such as pulsars and active galactic nuclei. Although radio waves from space were first detected in the 1930s, it only became a major branch of observational astronomy after 1950.

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The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".

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Panorama of the Parks Radio Telescope with blue sky and few thin clouds. The telescope looks like a giant satellite dish.

Parkes Radio Telescope

Caption: The 64m Radio Telescope at Parkes Observatory (New South Wales, Australia) is fully operantional since 1963 and continuously upgraded since. Also called "The Dish", it is run by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The telescope can be pointed at a part of the sky. The radio waves from this part of the sky are then reflected and focussed by the giant dish to a receiver at the focal point. The data from this receiver can then be analysed by astronomers.
Credit: David McClenaghan/CSIRO credit link
License: CC-BY-3.0 Creative Comments Attribution 3.0 Unported icons