background noise

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An unwanted, randomly fluctuating signal that may mask the signal from a radio source. Background noise has many origins: the random motions of electrons in the receiving apparatus (thermal noise), radiation from our Galaxy (synchrotron radiation), and the cosmic microwave radiation from the Big Bang are three major contributors. Noise extending uniformly over a broad band of frequencies is termed white noise.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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