How does altitude affect a radio telescope?

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willpittenger

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I figured that the longer wavelengths would make them immune to the atmospheric distortion problems that visible light scopes struggle with.&nbsp; Could the atmosphere weaken the signal? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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Saiph

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<p>Your right.&nbsp; Radio telescopes are basically immune to atmospheric affects.&nbsp; The long wavelengths help, but the primary reason is, IIRC, that the atmosphere is basically transparent to these frequencies.&nbsp; Nothing really interacts with radio-waves in the atmosphere.&nbsp;</p><p>Atoms usually require stronger photons to cause the electrons to jump around (thus absorbing/scattering the photon).&nbsp; Radio waves are so weak, that it's basically only solid metals that interact with them because the electrons aren't really bound, and free to move from any disturbance.</p><p>&nbsp;Of course, while radio telescopes don't suffer from the atmospheric distortion that limits traditional optical scopes to ~1" of resolution, the same long wavelengths of radiowaves that allow them to pass unperturbed, limits our resolution to very poor (the exact figure eludes me).</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I.e. despite the atmospheric transparency..radio waves still lose. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p align="center"><font color="#c0c0c0"><br /></font></p><p align="center"><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">----</font></em></font><font color="#666699">SaiphMOD@gmail.com </font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">-------------------</font></em></font></p><p><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">"This is my Timey Wimey Detector.  Goes "bing" when there's stuff.  It also fries eggs at 30 paces, wether you want it to or not actually.  I've learned to stay away from hens: It's not pretty when they blow" -- </font></em></font><font size="1" color="#999999">The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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CalliArcale

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I can think of one way in which altitude might help a radio telescope.&nbsp; If the telescope is situated in rugged terrain, placing it at higher elevation will give it a better view of the sky -- fewer obstructions, basically.&nbsp; You wouldn't want to stick a telescope at the bottom of a fjord, for instance.&nbsp; ;-) <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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willpittenger

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I can think of one way in which altitude might help a radio telescope.&nbsp; If the telescope is situated in rugged terrain, placing it at higher elevation will give it a better view of the sky -- fewer obstructions, basically.&nbsp; You wouldn't want to stick a telescope at the bottom of a fjord, for instance.&nbsp; ;-)</p><p>Posted by CalliArcale</DIV><br />I asked because I saw that a new scope was being built "high in the Andes."&nbsp; I was going why there rather than some place more accessible ... such as a plain. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Will Pittenger<hr style="margin-top:0.5em;margin-bottom:0.5em" />Add this user box to your Wikipedia User Page to show your support for the SDC forums: <div style="margin-left:1em">{{User:Will Pittenger/User Boxes/Space.com Account}}</div> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I asked because I saw that a new scope was being built "high in the Andes."&nbsp; I was going why there rather than some place more accessible ... such as a plain. <br />Posted by willpittenger</DIV><br /><br />That may not be a radio telescope, but rather one designed to look at IR wavelngths. That is attenuated by moisture in the atmosphere, so the higher (i.e. the further you are above the atmosphere) the better. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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Saiph

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That does sound exactly like an IR telescope.&nbsp; For those you want very little atmosphere, and as little water vapor as possible (the main interfering element in IR transmissions). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p align="center"><font color="#c0c0c0"><br /></font></p><p align="center"><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">--------</font></em></font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">----</font></em></font><font color="#666699">SaiphMOD@gmail.com </font><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">-------------------</font></em></font></p><p><font color="#999999"><em><font size="1">"This is my Timey Wimey Detector.  Goes "bing" when there's stuff.  It also fries eggs at 30 paces, wether you want it to or not actually.  I've learned to stay away from hens: It's not pretty when they blow" -- </font></em></font><font size="1" color="#999999">The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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