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Powerful Scope: 5 Significant Radio Telescope Discoveries

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

This article was written by site member Jason Cook. This is the first Galactic Hunter post written by an outside contributor.


A radio telescope is completely different from an optical telescope that we are more familiar with. The difference between the two is that an optical telescope basically reflects or mirrors an image, while a radio telescope is reliant on radio wavelengths to produce a not so exact image of what is observed.

If you take a look at what both telescopes can see, optical telescopes basically zoom towards a faraway object. A radio telescope image looks pretty similar to the images produced by a thermal camera. You can always check out telescope reviews for you to have a better idea of what really separates the two.

It’s very easy to distinguish the two since radio telescopes are really big and noticeable because of the dish and antenna that it has. The largest radio telescope in the world for the longest time was the one found in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. It covers a 20-acre field. Imagine that!

What might surprise you is that there’s a new radio telescope in China that has already beaten Arecibo’s radio telescope. In 2016, China has already finished building the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST). The one in Arecibo is only about 1000 feet across, but FAST covers 1,600 feet.

Now, radio telescopes actually play a big role when it comes to learning more about what’s outside our planet. In fact, since it was invented, there were significant discoveries that helped astronomers understand celestial bodies better.

Here are five interesting discoveries with the use of a radio telescope.


1. The discovery of Ubiquitous Radiation Throughout the Universe that Supports the Big Bang Theory

While ubiquitous sounds like a tough word, it simply means that the radiation that was detected by a radio telescope is present or found everywhere throughout the universe. This was discovered in 1941 by a Canadian astronomer named Andrew Mckellar.

The Big Bang is one of the most interesting theories when it comes to how the universe came about. A common misconception about this theory is that there was an explosion that’s why the universe we are in came into form.

Apparently, experts say that there was no explosion that happened. What really happened was an expansion that is still said to be continuing up to now.