Glossary term: Radio Telescope

Description: Radio telescopes receive radio waves from space. A radio telescope comprises a metallic antenna, this can be a dish or a dipole. The signals are then amplified and, in most cases, digitized in a sensitive radio receiver before being correlated on a computer back end. A radio telescope can be a single dish or a number of antennas linked together to form an interferometer. They operate at frequencies ranging from about 30 megahertz to 300 gigahertz, or 10 meters to 1 millimeter in wavelength, with individual telescopes and receivers optimized for specific regions within this band.

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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