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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Radio Astronomers and Motorola Sign Pact
19 March 1998 7:00 pm
Quelling concerns in the astronomy community, the world's largest radio observatory will not be drowned out by round-the-clock cell phone chitchat. Yesterday the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, which operates the Arecibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico, announced a pact with Motorola Inc. that allows NAIC access for 8 hours a day to a critical part of the radio spectrum.
Motorola plans to inaugurate a $5 billion global cellular phone service called Iridium this fall. The heart of Iridium--66 satellites, some of which are already orbiting Earth--will transmit phone calls at a frequency of about 1621 megahertz. However, some of the signal will spill over into bands used by radio telescopes, which are vastly more sensitive to weak interference than portable phones.
The agreement focuses on a narrow part of the radio spectrum, from 1610.6 to 1613.8 megahertz. At these frequencies, astronomers can detect charged molecules called hydroxyl radicals, which reveal, for instance, faint traces of comets and expanding shells around red giant stars.
The issue "represents a fundamental dispute about limited resources," says NAIC director Paul Goldsmith. And with more private satellite networks going up and more radio bands to worry about, astronomers will have to keep fighting to protect their access to radio waves. "We'll have to be as creative as we can to protect radio astronomy into the foreseeable future," says Michael Davis, a former director of the Arecibo observatory.