The Story of Radio Astronomy – Astronomy talk

The Story of Radio Astronomy

25th October 2014

This talk was given by the Chairman, and covered various subjects. Firstly we looked at the electromagnetic spectrum and what we can observe from the ground, with optical and radio “windows”.
History started with the 19th century, moved on to Jansky’s detection of the centre of the Milky Way and Reber’s home made dish. The war interfered with developments in this field, but radar expertise was one of the drivers behind J Stanley Hey setting up the Cambridge group, and Bernard Lovell setting up the Jodrell Bank observatory.
We then looked at various types of telescope and how things have developed since then, using ever more effective forms of interferometry, culminating in the LOFAR observatory and the square kilometre array.
The subject then switched to what people are looking at today, included the Cosmic Microwave background (CMB) radiation, Pulsars, Quasars, radio galaxies and Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs).
Finally we looked at the 21 cm hydrogen line, and a lot of the things studying this “cold hydrogen” line can tell us.