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Radio Telescopes UPSC NOTE

 


Radio Telescopes

  • A radio telescope is a telescope that helps scientists ‘see’ the universe using radio waves (1 mm to more than 10,000 km in wavelength).

  • These telescopes collect faint radio waves coming from deep space, and with the help of other equipment focus and amplify them for scientific study.

  • Radio telescopes can detect radio waves from a number of celestial objects, such as stars, galaxies, and black holes. 

  • They are ground-based, and not in orbit, because they are usually quite large. 




  • This is because the size of the antenna – the dish-like structure that detects the waves – is proportional to the wavelength being tracked.

  • In fact, the most common radio telescopes have a parabolic dish antenna. 

  • Due to its curved shape, the radio waves hitting the dish bounce to a point called the focus, where a receiver collects them. 

  • Dish antennas collect many different wavelengths at once, so scientists often use receivers picking up multiple wavelengths at once.

  • Radio Telescopes




  • Because of their large wavelength, radio waves can travel long distances without interruption, making them ideal to catch glimpses of stars behind dust clouds, for example. 

  • But the longer they travel, the weaker they get.

  • So telescopes often try to maximise their signal collection area and use amplifiers to increase their strength.

  • One of the biggest radio telescopes in the world today is the FAST instrument in China, with a 500-metre-wide dish.


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Radio Telescopes UPSC NOTE
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