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Reber, Grote

radio discovery astronomer milky

[ray ber] (1911–2003) US radio astronomer: discovered first discrete radio sources in Milky Way.

Reber was a radio ham before he studied the subject at the Illinois Institute of Technology and so became a formally qualified radio engineer. Stimulated by the discovery by of radio emission from the Milky Way, Reber built a steerable 30 ft (9.3 m) parabolic radio antenna in 1937 in his back yard and began to investigate in more detail. He and were for many years the world’s only radio astronomers, since others had not followed up Jansky’s reports. His discovery of strong, discrete sources in Cygnus, Taurus and Cassiopeia persuaded them of the value of observations at radiofrequencies and led to the development of radio astronomy after the Second World War. In 1944 he published the first radio map of our Galaxy, at an operating wavelength of 1.87 metres. For almost a decade he appears to have been the world’s only active radio astronomer.

In 1954 he moved to Tasmania, set up a large radio telescope and worked to find evidence in support of his view that the ‘Big Bang’ theory is a fallacy: he was still doing so in the 1990s.

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