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Author Topic: How could we see radio waves?  (Read 30250 times)

sowjanya

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How could we see radio waves?
« on: 30/09/2011 14:01:09 »
sowjanya asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Are there any glasses that allow us to see radiowaves?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 30/09/2011 14:01:09 by _system »


 

Offline SeanB

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How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #1 on: 30/09/2011 20:26:41 »
You already do see them, at least certain very high frequency ones.
 

Offline Geezer

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How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #2 on: 30/09/2011 21:44:04 »
You already do see them, at least certain very high frequency ones.

Yes, what Sean is getting at is that your eyes don't need special glasses to receive visible light, which is high frequency electromagnetic radiation.

I don't think you would be able to observe radio waves directly. The energy only becomes apparent when it interacts with matter in the same way that you can't detect light until it impinges on something else.
 

Offline Nizzle

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How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #3 on: 04/10/2011 11:38:43 »
Yep, we will never be able to see radiowaves directly, simply because our eyes aren't made for that.
Even Infrared waves, which are inbetween visible light waves and radio waves can only be seen through some device that "translates" the IR-waves to visible light.

I'm sure that it is possible to create a device to "translate" radiowaves to visible light frequencies, but I can't really think of a use for such device (in contrary to the obvious use of translating IR to visible light for detecting heat signatures)
 

Offline Bored chemist

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How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #4 on: 04/10/2011 22:09:52 »
In a way MRI is "seeing with radio waves" but it's certainly not the same sort of process as vision or an IR camera.
 

Offline CliffordK

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How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #5 on: 04/10/2011 22:45:22 »
I don't see why one couldn't design a camera CCD that would be capable of receiving radio waves.  Whether spacial resolution on radio waves would be interesting is another story.

Certainly you wouldn't see TV without a TV Decoder...  which gives you a different image all together.
 

Offline aku82

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How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #6 on: 04/11/2011 10:01:00 »
Hi everyone,

I think there are some inherent problems in doing this;

1. Most radiowaves are absorbed within the varying thickness of the object, thus hard to see it being reflected
2. Making detector (replacing CCD and CMOS) would be problematic. Which radiowave to focus on, what frequency?
3. Making lenses to focus these radiowaves would be a huge problem.

Nice to meet you all
 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #7 on: 02/03/2012 14:47:03 »
There are already 'glasses' to do this.

The glasses are called 'radio telescopes'!

They're a bit bulky, when worn though.

The reason they're so big is because of the wavelength of radio waves.

You could have smaller ones that are designed for higher frequencies, with shorter wavelengths, but they have to be several wavelengths in diameter.

To put his in perspective, microwaves (~2.5 GHz) have a wavelength of about 12 cm (IRC) so the 'glasses' need to be a few feet across.

Higher frequencies can be correspondingly smaller.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2012 14:52:21 by wolfekeeper »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #8 on: 03/03/2012 02:14:54 »
Ahhh.
So, due to the wavelength, each pixel is one dish.

So, your radio glasses would be very bulky indeed, if you wished to see more than one pixel.



Here is a bit smaller device, optimized to view microwaves (1cm range) which is still part of the radio wave spectrum.



 

Offline wolfekeeper

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Re: How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #9 on: 03/03/2012 03:50:36 »
No, they're not pixels, it's weirder than that, they act as a diffraction grating.
 

Offline Geezer

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Re: How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #10 on: 03/03/2012 06:38:20 »
....and, if you could make really teensy weensy radio antennae (it has been done) you might even build an optical telescope using the same technique. The effective lens size would be incredibly large.

 

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Re: How could we see radio waves?
« Reply #10 on: 03/03/2012 06:38:20 »

 

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