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Proceedings of the IEEE Examines Radio Telescopes

More Powerful Instruments with Better Resolution Help Study the Birth of Stars and Galaxies

28 July – The development of astronomy over the past decade has led radio astronomers to concentrate on both the highest and lowest ranges of the radio spectrum. The August Issue of the Proceedings of the IEEE ,(Volume 97; Number 8), “Advances in Radio Telescopes,” discusses the realization of new instruments, the status of several giant radio telescopes, as well as other advances that are enabling astronomers to better understand the physical process of the birth of stars and galaxies, and the development of the universe as a whole.

“Radio telescopes today are achieving an increase of 1-to-2 orders of magnitude (10-100 times) in sensitivity and angular resolution than those 15 years ago,” said August Guest Editor Jacob W.M. Baars. “This is enabling us to study objects at a great distance better than ever before. It also allows us to observe the radiation sent out when those objects were 10 percent as old as they are now.” Baars has published nearly 100 papers in radio astronomy and is a retired associate director of the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Radioastronomie in Germany. Larry R. D’Addario (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology) and A. Richard Thompson (National Radio Astronomy Observatory) were also guest editors for this issue.

“By combining data from telescopes in all regions of the electromagnetic spectrum--from Gamma rays to long radio wavelengths—we get a much better picture of how galaxies and stars are formed and evolve,” adds Baars. “The new radio telescopes described in the special issue will improve this view greatly.”

In celebration of Galileo’s invention of the “spyglass” in 1609 and the start of modern observational astronomy, 2009 was declared the ‘Year of Astronomy’ by the United Nations and the International Astronomical Union.