Pioneers

The "pioneers" of radio astronomy are Karl Jansky and Grote Reber. Jansky, working at Bell Labs, wanted to investigate the sources of static that might interfere with radio voice transmissions for transatlantic radio telephone service. He built a rotating antenna designed to receive radio waves at a wavelength about 14.5 meters, and identified a faint steady hiss of unknown origin. He eventually figured out that the radiation was coming from the Milky Way galaxy. Reber, fascinated by Jansky's discovery, constructed his own telescope in 1937 in his back yard in Illinois. A receiver on his telescope at 1.9 meters wavelength was successful in detecting radio emission from the Milky Way, in 1938, confirming Jansky's discovery. On March 25, 1951, Harold Ewen and Edward Purcell used a horn antenna in the first detection of the 21 cm emission from neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way.

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Ewen & Purcell

Jansky

Jansky

Reber

Reber

Reber
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