Plumbing for light

Waveguide
A radio receiver under construction CREDIT: Stuart

In my time I've got my hands dirty with radio astronomy hardware that observes at 30 GHz. That's in the bit of a gap between emission from water vapour and emission from oxygen.

I often prefer to think in wavelengths rather than frequency because 1cm is much more approachable than 30 GHz. 1cm feels holdable. It feels like you could catch the radio waves from distant galaxies in your own hands. As the instrument scales with the waves, the parts which guide them fit nicely in your hands too. Building a radio receiver can feel like plumbing for light.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 26th Oct 2011 (23:39 BST) | Permalink
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