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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

Can ET Hear Us? Wondering whether E-T is listening in September 8, 2023

Better Radar Improving our radar “eyes” on the solar system May 5, 2023

More Ears More “ears” to listen for ET February 7, 2023

Sending a Message Sending a message to the stars October 4, 2022

Jupiter at Opposition II Listening in on a giant planet September 25, 2022

Radio Planet A new way to catch exoplanets September 1, 2022

Odd Source Something new in the heart of the galaxy July 19, 2022

John Bolton Eavesdropping on noisy galaxies June 5, 2022

Next Life A new job for a giant radio dish April 8, 2022

Megamasers Powering up some distant galaxies February 7, 2022

Passing By A close encounter with a space rock November 8, 2021

Protected Space Blocking out Earthly interference October 6, 2021

A Passel of FRBs A plethora of radio outbursts September 24, 2021

Moon and Venus A timekeeper’s nightmare August 10, 2021

South-Pole Astronomy Special views of the universe August 9, 2021

Dangerous Asteroid Avoiding a planetary catastrophe July 31, 2021

Moonshine Shining a new light on the Moon January 10, 2021

PRIzM The challenges of radio astronomy December 3, 2020

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

Featured Images

composite image of ngc 1275, a giant galaxy in the middle of the perseus cluster

Loud Black Hole August 6, 2023

pds 70 system

'Sharing' Planets July 21, 2023

Ghostly clouds of hot gas glow bright blue against a background of many distant galaxies

Ghostly Gas March 31, 2023

artist's concept of a red-dwarf star and its possible planet

Listening for a Planet September 1, 2022

Wow! signal

Wow! August 15, 2022

radio image of an odd radio circle

Ring of Mystery March 22, 2022

bright orange ring around the star fomalhaut

Dusty Star October 8, 2021

chime telescope beneath Taurus

Strong and Fast September 24, 2021

radar view of Tycho Crater

Sharp Moon September 22, 2021

Project Diana

Moonbeams January 10, 2021

The damaged Arecibo Telescope

End of an Era November 20, 2020

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