MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: How Antennas receive the radio wave?

Date: Tue Sep 4 21:09:55 2001
Posted By: Erika Gibb, Grad student, Physics & Astronomy/Origins of Life, RPI
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 999128177.As

Hello Alissa,

There are some excellent resources discussing radio telescopes and radio astronomy. In simple terms, radio telescopes consist of several components, including the antenna, an amplifier, and a detector. The antenna consists of a reflector which collects the radio waves and focuses them to a point, similar to the mirror in an optical telescope. The working of a radio telescope requires a very involved explanation. Rather than trying to make a full explanation here, I am going to refer you to some more comprehensive sources.

A good introductory book, written at an undergraduate level, is An Introduction to Radio Astronomy by Bernard F. Burke and Francis Graham-Smith. is a web site at the Haystack Observatory. In has a comprehensive tutorial on radio astronomy which includes definitions of much of the terminology and diagrams showing the elements needed for a radio telescope. is the National Radio Astronomy Observatory web site. Follow the links from the main page for information about radio astronomy and telescopes. is the American Meteor Society's web page with information on observing meteors with radio telescopes. is the International Meteor Organization site with some questions and answers for radio observations of meteors as well as links to other amateur meteor observer sites.

Hopefully these sites will further your knowledge about observing meteors with a radio telescope.


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