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New Directions in Radio Astronomy

In Australia, a look at low frequencies

When people think of radio astronomy and radio telescopes, they envision large dish antennas and investigations taking place in the UHF and microwave regions of the spectrum.

An article this week at Australia’s, Perth SKA low-frequency workshop a success describes Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) plans for a low-frequency square kilometer array (SKA) radio telescope that can operate as low as 70 MHz. At these low frequencies, parabolic dish antennas are not practical. To achieve a frequency range that extends from 70 MHz to 25 GHz, an array of dish antennas is assisted by an array of dipole antennas. The workshop referred to in the article focused on the design of these dipole antennas.

Dr. Phil Diamond, CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science chief, explained, “The local universe has a wavelength of 21 centimeters, but as you go further out, the wavelength gets longer and longer, to about 2 meters; so the only way to detect it is with low-frequency radio signals.”

More details are available CSIRO’s radio astronomy projects are available on the CSIRO Technologies for Radio Astronomy page.

– TV Technology