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Do Radio Sources “Twinkle”?

19 Mar 2015, 09:23 UTC
Do Radio Sources “Twinkle”?
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Question: Usually observations with radio telescopes are not affected by rain, clouds etc. but recently i heard scintillation effects can affect observations with radio telescopes. I want to know why it is affected by that. – Anjali
Answer: Radio observations made at centimeter wavelengths can be affected by interplanetary scintillation, which results from the “jittering” of radio waves as they travel through fluctuations in the density of the electrons and protons which comprise the solar wind. Radio scintillation is analogous to the “twinkling” of stars as viewed from the Earth’s surface, which is caused by the changes in the density of the Earth’s atmosphere that change the path that the star’s light takes as it passes through that atmosphere.
Jeff Mangum

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