Antenna design and implementation for the future space Ultra-Long wavelength radio telescope

Linjie Chen, Amin Aminaei, Leonid I. Gurvits, Marc Klein Wolt, Hamid Reza Pourshaghaghi, Yihua Yan, Heino Falcke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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In radio astronomy, the Ultra-Long Wavelengths (ULW) regime of longer than 10 m (frequencies below 30 MHz), remains the last virtually unexplored window of the celestial electromagnetic spectrum. The strength of the science case for extending radio astronomy into the ULW window is growing. However, the opaqueness of the Earth’s ionosphere makes ULW observations by ground-based facilities practically impossible. Furthermore, the ULW spectrum is full of anthropogenic radio frequency interference (RFI). The only radical solution for both problems is in placing an ULW astronomy facility in space. We present a concept of a key element of a space-borne ULW array facility, an antenna that addresses radio astronomical specifications. A tripole–type antenna and amplifier are analysed as a solution for ULW implementation. A receiver system with a low power dissipation is discussed as well. The active antenna is optimized to operate at the noise level defined by the celestial emission in the frequency band 1 − 30 MHz. Field experiments with a prototype tripole antenna enabled estimates of the system noise temperature. They indicated that the proposed concept meets the requirements of a space-borne ULW array facility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-253
JournalExperimental Astronomy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Radio astronomy
  • Space-based radio telescope
  • Ultra-long wavelength


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