Radio Astronomy

Radio astronomers listen to very faint signals from the cosmos. Radio noise from our technological, increasingly satellite-driven civilization is causing interference at radio observatories that is destructive to the research radio astronomers are attempting to do. Every 2 to 3 years, a World Radio Conference is held at the International Telecommunications Union to sort out priorities and bandwidth protection at different radio frequencies. The radio spectrum is a limited resource currently under strong pressure from commercial satellite companies. Astronomers are feeling the pinch.

I became very interested in this issue as a graduate student in Space Studies at the University of North Dakota and chose to research the topic in depth. Unlike light pollution, radio frequency interference isn't visible and consequently, doesn't get a lot of notice. A number of organizations both domstic and international, are attempting to keep certain radio frequencies "quiet" so this very important work may continue.

This is a paper I presented at the International Astronomical Federation Conference in Turin, Italy, in 1997 that discusses the effect of radio frequency interference on SETI observations in the 1-3 GHz band.

Frequency Management and SETI:
Threats to SETI Observations in the 1-3 GHz Band -Gloria K. Hovde