Radio Astronomy: Limitations

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Astronomy is a labor of love, and radio astronomy is no different.

As I covered in my last post, radio astronomy deals with the longest wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum (a spectrum that includes visible light). Radio waves are not sound waves. They’re radiation just like visible light, infrared, and ultraviolet.

I’ll prove to you that radio waves can’t be sound waves. We get them from space—that’s why there’s such a thing as radio astronomy. But there’s no sound in space. Why? Sound requires something to pass through, and space is a vacuum.

So, we’ve established that radio waves are just another form of electromagnetic radiation. And astronomers love to collect any form of electromagnetic radiation. We can’t touch the stars ourselves, so it’s our only chance at learning about the cosmos.

Why? Because just about everything in the sky emits electromagnetic radiation.

Everything except black holes and a couple other things…but those are topics for another day.

But electromagnetic radiation isn’t easy to collect. And radio waves are especially hard. Continue reading

Light Pollution

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This photo was taken at night.

Seriously. At night.

But…it looks too bright for the night. I’ll bet I wouldn’t even have to shine a flashlight to see my way around here.

Need proof? Here’s New York City during the day.

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The lighting comes from the sun. Not the billboards and flashing advertisements.

Who needs that many adverts in their life, anyway?

But I’m not interested in judging New York City…all I want is to make a protest against light pollution.

What is light pollution, anyway? Continue reading