Ear-catching modular programs bringing the space-age science of radio astronomy down to earth! In celebration of its 50th Anniversary, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory brings you a series of brief insights into the fascinating world of deep space. Tune into the Universe with Cosmic Radio!
Throughout history, women have had a tough time breaking into the physical sciences. And when they do, their contributions may go unnoticed for decades. This is the story of Ruby Payne Scott, the first female radio astronomer.
Dip a teaspoon in a pulsar, and pull out the equivalent of a full ocean tanker! Add the amazing fact that a pulsar can rotate up to 700 times a second and you have one of the most exotic objects in the Universe.
Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, actually has water ice in craters near the planet´s poles. Does the Moon also harbor water ice? It would be nice to have a ready-made source of water when astronauts return to set up a permanent lunar colony.
Light pollution is a problem for optical astronomers. There is a problem just as severe for radio astronomers radio frequency interference. Communications towers, satellites, and even home electronics like your iPod produce signals that swamp sensitive radio telescopes!
20/20 vision is a good thing. It means you can read a letter that´s about 1/4th of an inch high from a distance of 20 feet. Put that letter in Los Angeles. Now what if you could read it standing in New York? The Very Long Baseline Array can!
While some astronomers look for transmissions from other civilizations to search for evidence of life in the Milky Way, others search for interstellar chemicals that are necessary for life: organic molecules.
"A strong, unique pulsed signal came booming into the telescope just as soon as we had turned it towards the star Epsilon Eridani." These words of Frank Drake highlight the excitement surrounding the first search for intelligent life in the Milky Way. Drake called it Project Ozma.
Contrary to what you might think, radio astronomers don´t listen to the Universe; they often make images of it. Because of its size and sensitivity, the Very Large Array is one of the best imaging telescopes around.
In our Galaxy, about once every 100 years, a massive star ends its life in an enormous explosion. This explosion can outshine the full moon. While the light fades away in a matter of weeks, the gas continues to glow in radio waves.
Galileo rocked the world when he turned his simple spyglass toward the sun and discovered sunspots. Since Galileo's time, studies of our star have revealed that Earth is in a very real sense, inside the sun.
All forms of electromagnetic energy, including light and radio waves, obey a cosmic speed limit: 186,000 miles per second! Even at that incredible speed, it takes a long time for light to reach us from the distant reaches of the Universe. What you learn in this segment will blow your mind!
Some of the most fascinating objects, like black holes, and some of the most basic of processes, like how stars are born and how they die, are best studied by radio telescopes. We invite you to learn more with Cosmic Radio. Welcome to the radio universe!