The Importance of Synthesis Radio Telescopes
Over the last few decades high resolution observations made with synthesis radio telescopes have revolutionized our understanding of the Universe. Even though radio waves are million times longer than optical waves the angular resolution provided by some of the synthesis radio telescopes is appreciably higher than that of the largest optical telescopes. In this paper we summarize the capabilities of several large synthesis radio telescopes that have been built or are under construction in various parts of the world for operation in the sub-mm, mm, cm, dcm and metre wavelength ranges. A brief description is also given of the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope under construction in India. We then describe some of the major scientific results obtained for a variety of objects ranging from our solar system to distant radio galaxies and quasars. It is concluded that a quantum jump in sensitivity is needed at dcm and metre wavelengths for exploring the Universe through the ‘hydrogen window’.
Key wordsRadio Telescopes Aperture Synthesis Interferometers Radio Astronomy
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