Karl Jansky and his radio antenna, 1930s

Karl Jansky and his radio antenna, 1930s

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

Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Karl Jansky and his radio antenna. Karl Jansky (1905-1950), an American radio engineer, began working at Bell Telephone Laboratories, USA, in 1928. He was given the task of investigating static that interfered with shortwave radio communication. He designed the 14.6 metre rotatable, directional antenna system pictured, which was completed in 1930 and nicknamed the "Jansky's merry-go-round". With it he demonstrated the static 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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