Karl Jansky, American radio engineer

Karl Jansky, American radio engineer

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This image is part of the feature 400 Years Of The Telescope

Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Restrictions: This image may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NRAO, AUI or NSF of any company or product

Caption: Karl Jansky pointing to a blackboard, to the region of the galactic plane emitting strong cosmic noise. Karl Jansky (1905-1950) was an American radio engineer. After studying physics at Wisconsin, he took a job at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1928. He was given the task of investigating static that interfered with shortwave radio communication. This static was unrelated to common sources, and Jansky demonstrated that it was coming from the centre of our galaxy, in the constellation of Sagittarius. The discovery represented the birth of radio astronomy, where radio waves, generated by stars and planets and containing detailed information, are detected using radio telescopes.

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