Very Low Frequency Radio Astronomy from Lunar Orbit

by Nebojsa Duric, Univ of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


This paper discusses the use of very low frequency aperture synthesis as a probe of astrophysical phenomena. Specifically, the science achievable with the Lunar Observer Radio Astronomy Experiment (LORAE) is discussed. The density distribution and the degree of turbulence of the galactic plasma can be determined from its effect on background radio sources. These same absorption phenomena can be used to determine magnetic field strengths within astrophysical plasmas. Detection of unabsorbed synchrotron emission can provide information on the relativistic plasma component. The detection of new pulsars may prove feasible because of their steep spectra. Observations of planets in the solar system will be used to study their interaction with the solar wind. VLF studies of the Sun will provide new information on the outer layers of its atmosphere and magnetic field as well as provide insight on the propagation of MHD disturbances through the corona. The plasma in the earth's magnetic field can be observed in detail and as a function of time. This will prove invaluable in understanding auroral phenomena and reconnection events.

Subject Headings: Magnetic fields | Astronomy | Moon | Orbits | Field tests | Solar radiation | Probe instruments | Turbulence

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