Introduction to Millimeter/Sub-millimeter Astronomy

  • T. L. Wilson
Part of the Saas-Fee Advanced Course book series (SAASFEE, volume 38)


This chapter provides an introduction to the basics of radiative transfer, receivers, antennas and interferometry. Following this is an exposition of radiation mechanisms for continuum, atoms and molecules. Much of this material is contained in Rohlfs and Wilson (Tools of Radio Astronomy, Springer, Berlin, 2004, [36]), Wilson et al. (Tools of Radio Astronomy, Springer, Berlin, 2013, [52]). This chapter places more emphasis on current research in millimeter/sub-millimeter astronomy. The field of mm/sub-mm astronomy has become very large, so this presentation contains only a few derivations. In some cases, the approach is to quote a result followed by an example. Some common terms are used, but “jargon” has been avoided as much as possible. For the most part, references are to more recent work, where citations to earlier publications can be found. The units are mostly CGS with some SI units. This follows the usage in the astronomy literature. One topic not covered here is the polarization (see Rohlfs and Wilson, Tools of radio astronomy. Springer, Berlin, 2004, [36], Thum et al., [47] for an introduction). Another glaring omission is a treatment of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), since this is not treated in the following lecture. The CMB emission is not weak, but does fill the entire sky, so special techniques and different interpretations must be employed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Max Planck Institute for Radio AstronomyBonnGermany

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