12-09-99, 02:29 AM
I've been studying astronomy. Why is it that all the findings from space come from types of electromagnetic radiation other than microwave? One hears about detecting gamma rays, radio waves, x-rays, uv and visible and infrared waves... but microwaves? Nuh-uh.
Just curious. My text doesn't touch it.
12-09-99, 01:56 PM
Here is an educated guess. Telescope resolution is inversely proportional to wavelength. To get decent resolution out of a microwave telescope, it needs to be as big as radio telescopes are. Unfortunately, microwaves are absorbed by atmosphere, so any microwave telescope must be in orbit. Putting a 50-meter parabolic dish into orbit (and a solid one at that - not a mesh like radio telescopes often are) is a tad expensive ;)
12-09-99, 04:21 PM
Riiiight, I forgot about the optical & radio windows in the atmosphere... Okay, I guess that might explain it. Don't we *have* such microwave-detecting satellites out there, though?
Something else I forgot: the whole cosmic microwave background issue.
12-09-99, 04:53 PM
COBE home page: http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/astro/cobe/cobe_home.html
MAP home page: http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/
MAP angular resolution: http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/html/resolution.html