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The electrification of almost everything around us has led to a sharp increase in the number of switched mode power converters and other sources of broad-band radio interference. Radio astronomy studies the universe by making images of radio emission from cosmic objects such as black hole jets, galaxies, and the interstellar medium. Most of these objects emit radiation over very broad bands. Four to six decades in frequency is no exception. Because of their vast distance, cosmic signals are generally feeble here on Earth, and are easily overwhelmed by anthropogenic interference. But not all interference is the same. In this lecture I will explain how we distinguish several categories of interference based on their spatial and statistical properties. I will also describe social, legal, and mathematical avenues to mitigate this threat to sensitive radio applications.
Dr. Michiel Brentjens, Astron
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