Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astronomers Win Protection For Key Part Of Spectrum

Date:
June 27, 2000
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Astronomers using the millimeter-wave region of the radio spectrum have won crucial protection for their science. The 2,500 delegates to the World Radiocommunication Conference (WCR 2000) have given final approval to dedicated spectrum allocations for radio astronomy. The delegates recently concluded a month of deliberations in Istanbul, Turkey.

Astronomers using the millimeter-wave region of the radio spectrum have won crucial protection for their science. The 2,500 delegates to the World Radiocommunication Conference (WCR 2000) have given final approval to dedicated spectrum allocations for radio astronomy. The delegates recently concluded a month of deliberations in Istanbul, Turkey.

Related Articles


The new millimeter-wave allocations represent the culmination of more than three years of cooperative planning by radio astronomers in many countries.

Millimeter waves - high-frequency radio waves - have come of age as an astronomical tool in the last ten years. They are one of the last technological frontiers for astronomers.

WRC-00 has protected for science all the frequencies between 71 and 275 Gigahertz that radio astronomers currently use, adding more than 90 GHz of spectrum to the 44 GHz already set aside in this frequency range. As a result, radio astronomy is now allocated most of the frequencies between 71 and 275 GHz that can get through the earth’s atmosphere.

"We have formal access to all three atmospheric ‘windows,’ apart from their very edges," said Tom Gergely of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Astronomy Division, one of the U.S. delegates to WRC-2000.

The WRC also changed the frequencies allocated to satellite downlinks within the 71-275 GHz range to frequencies not used for science. Since no satellites yet operate at these high frequencies, no equipment needs to be altered.

"Commercial technologies are not fully developed above 50 GHz," said Klaus Ruf, chairman of the Inter-Union Commission for the Allocation of Frequencies. "The WRC’s actions mean that, when they are, radio astronomers should be able to share this part of the spectrum with most terrestrial services."

The World Radiocommunication Conference is held every two to three years. Member countries of the International Telecommunication Union meet at the WRC to parcel out the radio frequency spectrum between radio-based applications such as personal communications, satellite broadcasting, GPS and amateur radio, and the sciences of radio astronomy, earth exploration and deep space research. The WRC also coordinates sharing between these services in the same radio bands.

WRC decisions are incorporated into the Radio Regulations that govern radio services worldwide.

The new spectrum allocations for radio astronomy are the first since 1979. Millimeter-wave astronomy was then in its infancy and many of its needs were not yet known. As astronomers began to explore this region of the spectrum they found spectral lines from many interesting molecules in space. Many of those lines had not fallen into the areas originally set aside for astronomy, but most will be under the new allocations.

"It’s a win for millimeter-wave science," said John Whiteoak of the Australia Telescope National Facility, Australian delegate to WRC-2000. "This secures its future."

The protection is a significant step for both existing millimeter-wave telescopes and new ones such as the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) now being planned by a US-European consortium. Even at its isolated site in Chile’s Atacama Desert, ALMA would be vulnerable to interference from satellite emissions. Sensitive radio astronomy receivers are blinded by these emissions, just as an optical telescope would be by a searchlight.

"There is more energy at millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelengths washing through the universe than there is of light or any other kind of radiation," said ALMA project scientist, Al Wootten of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. "Imaging the sources of this energy can tell us a great deal about the formation of stars and galaxies, and even planets."

The changes were welcomed by Johannes Andersen, General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union, which represents astronomers worldwide.

"Protecting our ability to observe the universe is the top priority for the International Astronomical Union," Andersen said. "This action shows that international bodies accept the need for environmental emission standards in space as well as on Earth, for the benefit of all."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Astronomers Win Protection For Key Part Of Spectrum." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000625232816.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2000, June 27). Astronomers Win Protection For Key Part Of Spectrum. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000625232816.htm
National Science Foundation. "Astronomers Win Protection For Key Part Of Spectrum." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000625232816.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) NASA&apos;s New Horizons probe is en route to snap a picture of Pluto this summer, but making sure it doesn&apos;t miss its one chance to do so starts now. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins