What are radio telescopes and how do they work

What is a Radio Telescope

Radio Telescope is a antenna that is used to receive radio waves. In Radio astronomy, Radio Telescope is the main equipment for studying radio waves that are coming from astronomical objects in the universe through the use of radio frequency which is a part of electromagnetic spectrum. Most of the Radio Telescopes have very big antennas size because the radio waves coming from very far planets, stars ,nebula, galaxy are very weak. The Big antenna size of Radio Telescope helps to collect enough radio energy to study them.

Parabolic dish antenna is the most powerful type of Radio Telescope. The antenna is attached to a receiver and amplifier for boosting the incoming weak radio signals. Finally a recorder is needed to record and analyse the data, now a days sophisticated computer and software systems are used to analyse this data and record it directly.

How Radio Telescope Work

The incoming radio waves from the space bounce up to a single point called focus which is caused by the shape of parabolic antenna. Many different wave lengths are bounced by the dish antenna at once and we need different receivers to tune to different frequency channel.

In early days we had to tune in to specific signal but now a days with the help of modern computers large number of radio frequencies can be observed all at once. Computers are able to divide the frequency channel into several hundred separate channels.

Where are Radio Telescope located

Green Bank Telescope which is 100 meters across is the largest moving radio dish.

Five hundred meter aperture spherical telescope also known as FAST is the largest telescope in the world. FAST surpassed the 305 meter Arecibo Observatory near Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

The Russian RATAN 600 telescope is located near Zelenchukskaya in the Caucasus Mountains.

Another fully steerable telescope is Max Planck Institut für Radioastronomie which has 100-metre- (330-foot-) diameter antenna near Effelsberg, Germany.

Radio telescopes can be used individually and slow they can be linked together to form telescope array know as interferometer.