1 Goal 

At Radio Waves, we aim to design and build the largest radio telescope in Switzerland by 2025.

1 association

Radio Waves is one of Callista’s commissions, EPFL’s astronomy association. 

Bachelor and Master projects 

12 students are already working towards achieving our goal. The first step is to build a small radio telescope by the end of the semester.

Radio astronomy in a nutshell 

Care to learn about how scientists discovered Sagittarius A* ?

There are as many ways of observing our universe as there are wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. Lights of frequencies ranging from 3 KHz to 300 GHz are known as radio waves. In 1932, the American physicist Karl Jansky built an antenna designed to receive such light. This first step into radio astronomy led nowhere but to the discovery of the supermassive blackhole at the centre of our galaxy : Sagittarius A*. Radio astronomy slowly gained the interest of the scientific community as it proved itself more than useful to unveil a face of reality our own eyes are incapable of conceiving. 

Radio astronomy in a nutshell

And today ?

In 2019, the Event Horizon Telescope, composed of many radio observatories or radio telescopes around the world, captured the first picture of a black hole. This example is only one amongst many : radio astronomy is a growing field, and it certainly holds the key to many closed doors ! 

Radio Astronomy in a nutshell 

Radio astronomy, the EPFL and us

Have you ever heard of the SKA ? The square kilometre array aims at being the next-generation radio-astronomy facility, the largest ever built by mankind. The project is located over two sites, Australia and South Africa, and involves the collaboration of more than 20 countries. In 2020, the EPFL became a member of the SKA organisation. Our association hence intents to promote and reinforce Switzerland’s implication in Radio-astronomy, from their ongoing collaboration with the SKA project.

Radio news 

13 billion light-years away, a quasar emits a cosmic jet providing information about the early universe. 

It is the most distant cosmic jet discovered so far. And looking far away is looking early in time : the quasar is seen as it was when the universe was 780 million years old. Scientists are thus provided with, amongst other things, information about how supermassive black holes evolved. 

Gravitational lensing reveals an image of the weakest radio-emitting object ever found : a distant galaxy.  

Astronomers used distant clusters of galaxies as natural lenses, taking advantage of the gravitational bending and magnifying of light induced by these masses to detect radio-waves coming from the most-distant objects. 

What happens when a black hole shreds a star ? 

Astronomers observed on the 22nd of February, a star shredded by the gravity of a supermassive black hole. This study helped scientists gain knowledge about such events, but also gave rise to new questions and concerns.