How Do You See Through a Radio Telescope?

26 September 2017, 16:15

radio telescope
Picture: LBC

It's more detailed than you think.

Mystery Hour Question

What do astronomers see when they look through radio telescopes? We have an optical one at home and it must be different.

Answer

Qualification: Watched Brian Cox TV show

Different to an ordinary telescope which allows us to see visible light, a radio telescope basically allows the explorer to see invisible light in the form of radio waves and therefore, we can interpret the shape of the universe through magnetic fields.

You view the images through a screen, the radio waves you’ve emitted through space, come back though a mechanism and transforms it into visible light. Think of it as similar to a thermal imaging camera.

Lindsey, Weybridge

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