Jansky

# Jansky

Discussion
 Ask a question about 'Jansky' Start a new discussion about 'Jansky' Answer questions from other users Full Discussion Forum

Encyclopedia
The flux unit or jansky (symbol Jy) is a non-SI
Si
Si, si, or SI may refer to :- Measurement, mathematics and science :* International System of Units , the modern international standard version of the metric system...

unit of spectral flux density
Flux density
-Formal Statement:The flux density is simply defined as the amount of flux passing through a unit-area. -Mathematical Statement:The flux density would essentially be the number of field lines passing through a defined unit-area...

equivalent to 10−26 watt
Watt
The watt is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units , named after the Scottish engineer James Watt . The unit, defined as one joule per second, measures the rate of energy conversion.-Definition:...

s per square metre
Square metre
The square metre or square meter is the SI derived unit of area, with symbol m2 . It is defined as the area of a square whose sides measure exactly one metre...

per hertz
Hertz
The hertz is the SI unit of frequency defined as the number of cycles per second of a periodic phenomenon. One of its most common uses is the description of the sine wave, particularly those used in radio and audio applications....

. The flux density or monochromatic flux, , of a source is the integral of the spectral radiance, , over the source solid angle
Solid angle
The solid angle, Ω, is the two-dimensional angle in three-dimensional space that an object subtends at a point. It is a measure of how large that object appears to an observer looking from that point...

:

The unit is named after pioneering US radio astronomer Karl Guthe Jansky
Karl Guthe Jansky
Karl Guthe Jansky was an American physicist and radio engineer who in August 1931 first discovered radio waves emanating from the Milky Way. He is considered one of the founding figures of radio astronomy.- Early life :...

, and is defined as:

(SI
Si
Si, si, or SI may refer to :- Measurement, mathematics and science :* International System of Units , the modern international standard version of the metric system...

) (cgs
Centimetre gram second system of units
The centimetre–gram–second system is a metric system of physical units based on centimetre as the unit of length, gram as a unit of mass, and second as a unit of time...

)

The flux density in Jy can be converted to a magnitude basis, for suitable assumptions about the spectrum. For instance, converting an AB magnitude to a flux-density in microjanskys is straightforward:

Since the jansky is obtained by integrating over the whole source solid angle, it is most simply used to describe point sources; for example, the Third Cambridge Catalogue of Radio Sources
Third Cambridge Catalogue of Radio Sources
The Third Cambridge Catalogue of Radio Sources is an astronomical catalogue of celestial radio sources detected originally at 159 MHz, and subsequently at 178 MHz. It was published in 1959 by members of the Radio Astronomy Group of the University of Cambridge...

(3C) reports results in Jy. For extended sources, the surface brightness is often described with units of Jy per solid angle; for example, Far Infra-Red (FIR) maps from the IRAS
IRAS
The Infrared Astronomical Satellite was the first-ever space-based observatory to perform a survey of the entire sky at infrared wavelengths....

satellite are in MJy/sr. While extended sources at all wavelengths can be reported with these units, for radio frequency maps, extended sources have traditionally been described in terms of a brightness temperature
Brightness temperature
Brightness temperature is the temperature a black body in thermal equilibrium with its surroundings would have to be to duplicate the observed intensity of a grey body object at a frequency \nu....

; for example the Haslam et al. 408 MHz all-sky continuum survey is reported in terms of a brightness temperature in K.

## Usage

The flux to which the jansky refers can be in any form of energy. It was created for and is still most frequently used in reference to electromagnetic energy, especially in the context of radio astronomy. The brightest astronomical radio sources have flux densities of the order of one to one hundred janskys. For example, the 3C
Third Cambridge Catalogue of Radio Sources
The Third Cambridge Catalogue of Radio Sources is an astronomical catalogue of celestial radio sources detected originally at 159 MHz, and subsequently at 178 MHz. It was published in 1959 by members of the Radio Astronomy Group of the University of Cambridge...

lists some 300 to 400 radio sources in the Northern Hemisphere brighter than 9 Jy at 159 MHz. This range makes the jansky a suitable unit for radio astronomy