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Can Radio Frequency Interference be Confused with Astronomical Signals?

24 May 2014, 10:15 UTC
Can Radio Frequency Interference be Confused with Astronomical Signals?
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Question: I was reading this article on your website: https://public.nrao.edu/telescopes/radio-frequency-interference
I was looking at the image on the far right which shows what happens when a nearby satellite crosses the path of a star detected by a ground based radio telescope. my question to what I am seeing is, can this truly be considered noise interference emanating from the satellite exclusively or can we be seeing a form of lensing occurring due to the magnetic wave characteristics of the satellite’s transmitted radio signals? can we also be seeing background details that where not detectable with just a single radio telescope? Could we be detecting dark matter this way? what are we really seeing? Is it just solely transmissions from the satellite, mixture of Gaussian noise? or something more? – David
Answer: In order for the satellite to produce lensed emission from the objects beyond it the satellite would need to be quite massive (thus behaving like a gravitational lens). We also know that communication satellites emit very strong (by astronomical standards) emission at specific wavelengths that we can measure. It is that strong emission that we detect with our radio telescopes, and which produces the interference pattern shown in the ...

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