Abstract

Millimeter-wavelength Rayleigh scattering from water droplets in a cloud is proposed as a means of generating a bright beacon for measuring the surface profile of a radio telescope. A λ=3mm transmitter, with an output power of a few watts, illuminating a stratiform cloud, can generate a beacon with the same flux as Mars in 10 GHz bandwidth, but the beacon has a narrow line width, so it is extremely bright. The key advantage of the beacon is that it can be used at any time, and positioned anywhere in the sky, as long as there are clouds.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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