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Radio Astronomy


The radio galaxy 3C84 observed in 2016 by the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) at 43 GHz.


Radio Astronomy

Radio radiation covers the low-energy range of the electromagnetic spectrum. The wavelength of this radiation lies approximately between one millimeter and 10 meters. Since the Earth's atmosphere is transparent to radio waves, a direct measurement on Earth is possible. In most cases, this is done with large radio dishes or radio antennas. These detectors can measure individually or be connected to interferometers to achieve very high resolutions.

In contrast to gamma and neutrino astronomy, radio astronomy can investigate the morphology of sources. Observations with the VLBA or LOFAR provide high-resolution images of cosmic accelerators such as active galactic nuclei. The combination of information from the entire electromagnetic spectrum in so-called multi-wavelength analyses helps to understand their emission and acceleration processes.

The use of meter wavelengths for astrophysical research offers unprecedented insights into many astrophysical processes, which are studied in the scope of the GLOW consortium.

With the new generation of radio interferometers - like LOFAR and SKA - data science topics are becoming more relevant for the field of radio astronomy. The analysis of all observations in a reasonable time requires new analysis techniques. In cooperation with data science groups within the scope of the SFB876, we develop solutions in the field of machine learning. 

Another project is the automation of radio telescopes, for which the robotization of the prototype antenna MPG-SKA is a pathfinder. One central aspect to realize automated observations is data mining of sensor-metadata.

Topics covert in Dortmund include:
  • Jet kinematic analysis
  • Analysis of LOFAR observations
  • Towards robotization of the MPG-SKA prototype antenna
  • Analysis techniques for SKA observations