Unseen Cosmos: The Universe in Radio

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OUP Oxford, 2013 - Nature - 238 pages
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Radio telescopes have transformed our understanding of the Universe. Pulsars, quasars, Big Bang cosmology: all are discoveries of the new science of radio astronomy. Here, Francis Graham-Smith describes the birth, development, and maturity of radio astronomy, from the first discovery of cosmic radio waves to its present role as a major part of modern astronomy. Radio is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, covering infra-red, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma-rays, and Graham-Smith explains why it is that radio waves give us a unique view of the Universe. Tracing the development of radio telescopes he shows how each new idea in observing techniques has led to new discoveries, and looks at the ways in which radio waves are generated in the various cosmic sources, relating this to the radio world of mobile phones, radio and television channels, wireless computer connections, and remote car locks. Today a new generation of radio telescopes promises to extend our understanding of the Universe into further, as yet unknown, fields. Huge new radio telescopes are being built, such as the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), Low Frequency Array for Radioastronomy (LOFAR), and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Radio telescopes on spacecraft such as the Cosmic Microwave Explorer (COBE) and Planck are tracing in minute detail the faint but universal radio signal from the expanding early Universe. Graham-Smith shares the excitement of discovering the wonders of the radio universe, and the possibilities promised by the new age of giant radio telescopes.
 

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Contents

Radio Noise from Space
1
Hot Sun and Cold Planets
20
Our Galaxy the Milky Way
39
Cosmic Rays the Synchrotron and Molecules
64
Radio Galaxies and Quasars
82
Supernovae and Pulsars
106
Pulsar Clocks and Relativity
130
Radio Expands into Cosmology
149
Seeing the Cosmic Fireball
165
Big Dishes and Arrays
187
LOFAR ALMA and the SKA
206
Notes
224
Index
233
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About the author (2013)


Francis Graham-Smith, Emeritus Professor, Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester

Sir Francis Graham-Smith is the author of several books on radio astronomy. From 1988-90 he was the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester and Physical Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society from 1988-94.

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