BILL BACHMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BILL BACHMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Radio telescope. Parabolic open-mesh dish of a radio telescope, used to detect radio waves from space, from astronomical objects or space probes. This is one of the CSIRO telescopes in Australia. In 2005, it helped to track the Huygens probe at Titan. Radio waves can be detected by ground- based astronomy because Earth's atmosphere is transparent to radio waves. A mesh of metal wires is used to reflect the radio waves towards the detector (centre right) at the focus of the dish. The spacing between the wires has to be small enough for the wavelength being observed. A picture is not obtained instantly, but built up by tilting the dish to scan the observed area.
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