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Meet Govind Swarup: Pioneer of Radio Astronomy1 min read

September 11, 2020 < 1 min read


Meet Govind Swarup: Pioneer of Radio Astronomy1 min read

Reading Time: < 1 minute

You must have heard about the passing away of Govind Swarup who was the father of radio astronomy in India. He was 91 years of age. Govind was a wonderful scientist who set up the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT) and Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope (GMRT). He was the founder-director of TIFR – National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) in Pune.

In the interview above, Govind talks about how he became an astronomer and built Radio telescopes. Radio telescopes capture the non visible wave of the electromagnetic spectrum. Because of their large wavelength, the telescopes that are used to capture have to be bigger too. All of this helps capture the radio signals from far away galaxies and map out the universe.

These telescopes are designed as parabolas so that they can help reflect the faint signals from far away universe in one concentrated area. After that they are processed by electronics and maps of the various regions of the universe can be built out.

Must be fun to explore the universe and see what it looks out there. Now for some interesting thought exercises:

1. How big a these Radio Wave Telescopes in Diameter? Why do they need to be so big?

2. Make a rough guess of how many galaxies are in our universe?
A: About 200 billion. That is about 150 times the population of India.

3. Have you heard about Gravitational waves? Do you know that they are very hard to detect.