Radio Astronomy: Daddy Longlegs in the Sky

Some time this week, the newest NASA satellite is scheduled to perform a complex series of operations in orbit. If all goes well, Radio Astronomy Explorer-A will unreel a collection of booms and antenna until it turns into a veritable space spider, with two pairs of appendages reaching 1,500 ft. from tip to tip—a distance greater than the height of the Empire State Building (which is 1,472 ft.). With those great legs foraging for information, RAE-A will act as a flying radio telescope capable of monitoring signals that even the largest earth-bound...

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