Radio Telescopes: Seeing through Clouds

By Tan Yu Kai

April 2022 FEATURE
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Radio vs. Visible. In the visible light, Hercules A (image centre) looks like a regular galaxy, but when superimposed with an image in radio (red wispy clouds to the sides), it becomes apparent that it emits vast amounts of radio ejectile. Photo by: NASA, ESA, S. Baum and C. O'Dea (RIT), R. Perley and W. Cotton (NRAO / AUI / NSF), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA).
GLOOMY SKIES. There is a disappointment condensing out of the air as the stargazers stare at the blank clouds. Months of anticipation, marking the calendar, asking others to mark the calendar (and after no small amount of driving for Penangites, a whole 40 minutes, to get to a dark spot), has brought about a December night that promises a spectacular deluge of meteors – The Geminids Meteor Shower. But the clouds had rolled in, obscuring the last star from the...

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Tan Yu Kai

is a Penangite biologist-cum-artist passionate about human relationalities with the natural world. He is a triple major in Biology, Earth & Environmental Sciences and Anthropology, and was a Research Fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.