Radio Observatories

Radio Observatories

 

scientific institutions that conduct observations of electromagnetic radiation from celestial objects in the radio-astronomical wave band (wavelengths approximately 1 mm to 1 km) and use such observations as the basis of study of these objects.

The first radio observatory was built in Great Britain (Jodrell Bank, near Manchester) in the 1950’s. The discovery of celestial radio sources (see) led to the formation of radio-astronomical groups in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s at universities and scientific institutions, such as Cambridge University and the University of Manchester in Great Britain, the Naval Research Laboratory in the USA, the P. N. Lebedev Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the University of Gorky in the USSR, and the University of Sydney in Australia. Departments of radio astronomy have been founded at a number of astronomical observatories in the USSR, including the Biurakan Astrophysical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR, the Main Astronomical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR at Pulkovo, and the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Specialized radio observatories, whose research is determined to a significant degree by the capabilities of their radio telescopes, have since been constructed. There are now approximately 100 radio observatories (1970’s). Recently, in connection with a general trend in the development of science, national radio observatories have been created, primarily in countries with many small radio observatories.

The USSR has a number of major radio observatories. The Serpukhov Radio Observatory of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR is equipped with a crossed-antenna radio telescope operating at meter wavelengths and measuring 1 km, a high-precision paraboloid measuring 22 m in diameter, and a multielement array operating at meter wavelengths and used in the study of pulsars. The observatory is engaged in studying all celestial objects, from the sun to extragalactic radio sources.

The radio observatory attached to the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR is equipped with a 600-m ring-shaped radio telescope operating at centimeter wavelengths.

The Simeiz Radio Observatory of the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR is equipped with a high-precision, fully steerable, 22-m paraboloid operating at millimeter wavelengths. The observatory is primarily engaged in solar research.

The radio observatory attached to the Institute of Radio Physics and Electronics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR is equipped with the largest radio telescope operating at decimeter wavelengths. The observatory is primarily engaged in research on discrete extragalactic radio sources and certain radio sources within the Milky Way Galaxy, such as supernovas and pulsars.

The radio observatory attached to the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory is equipped with a specially shaped 130-m radio telescope operating at centimeter wavelengths. Research is centered on solar and galactic radio astronomy.

The radio observatory attached to the Institute of Radio Physics in Gorky is equipped with an extremely precise 25-m telescope operating at short millimeter wavelengths. The observatory is primarily engaged in planetary radio astronomy.

Major foreign radio observatories are located in the USA, Great Britain, the Commonwealth of Australia, France, the Netherlands, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), and India.

In the USA, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, W. Va., is equipped with a triple-element interferometer having a variable base line (up to 2.4 km) and composed of 25-m antennas; the observatory also has a 42-m paraboloid for wavelengths down to 2 cm, a 91-m paraboloid for wavelengths down to 6 cm, and an 11-m paraboloid located at Kitt Peak for wavelengths down to 0.3 cm. The observatory is engaged in every type of study, except solar research.

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is equipped with a 300-m spherical dish antenna located in a crater; it operates at wavelengths down to 10 cm. The observatory is primarily engaged in planetary cartography and in galactic and extragalactic radio astronomy.

The Owens Valley Observatory in California is equipped with an interferometer comprising two 27-m paraboloids and one 40-m paraboloid.

In Great Britain, the radio observatory at Jodrell Bank, near Manchester, is equipped with a 76-m parabolic radio telescope operating at wavelengths down to 20 cm and two smaller paraboloids that are used in conjunction with a 76-m paraboloid, thus constituting an interferometer. The observatory is engaged in galactic and extragalactic research.

The radio observatory at Cambridge is equipped with interferometers composed of eight elements (for radio images with dimensions of 5 cm) and three elements (for images of 1.6 km); the instruments are used in extragalactic research at decimeter and centimeter wavelengths. The observatory also has an antenna array operating at meter wavelengths and used to study pulsars and the solar wind.

In the Commonwealth of Australia, the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales is equipped with a 64-m paraboloid operating at wavelengths up to several cm; the antenna can be operated in conjunction with a 20-m steerable paraboloid. The observatory is primarily engaged in galactic and extragalactic research.

The Molonglo Radio Observatory is equipped with a 1.6-km crossed-antenna radio telescope operating at wavelengths of 75 cm and 3 m.

In France, the radio observatory at Nançay is equipped with a large radio telescope 200 m × 40 m operating at decimeter wavelengths and with several solar radio telescopes. The observatory is primarily engaged in the study of the structure and dynamics of galaxies.

In the Netherlands, the radio observatory at Westerbork is equipped with a 1-km multielement radio telescope comprising 12 paraboloids with dimensions of 20 m; the telescope operates at wavelengths of 21 and 6 cm. The observatory is primarily engaged in extragalactic research.

In the FRG, the radio observatory at Bochum is equipped with a very large paraboloid of 100 m operating at wavelengths down to 2 cm and a general-purpose radio telescope used for galactic and extragalactic research.

In India, the radio observatory in Ootacamund, North India, is equipped with a cylindrical radio telescope 500 m in length operating at meter wavelengths; the telescope is used to observe eclipses of radio sources by the moon.

REFERENCES

See references under .

IU. N. PARIISKII

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