A radio telescope is a form of directional radio antenna used in radio astronomy and in tracking and collecting data from satellites and space probes. In their astronomical role they differ from optical telescopes in that they operate in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum where they can detect and collect data on radio sources. Radio telescopes are typically large parabolic ("dish") antenna used singularly or in an array. Radio observatories are located far from major centers of population in order to avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI) from radio, TV, radar, and other EMI emitting devices. This is similar to the locating of optical telescopes to avoid light pollution, with the difference being that radio observatories will be placed in valleys to further shield them from EMI as opposed to clear air mountain tops for optical observatories.
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