DIY Radio Telescopes Hack Chat

Listening to the music of the spheres

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 12:00 pm PST Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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James Aguirre will host the Hack Chat on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at noon Pacific Time.

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For most of history, astronomers were privy to the goings-on in the universe only in a very narrow slice of the electromagnetic spectrum. We had no idea that a vibrant and wondrous picture was being painted up and down the wavelengths, a portrait in radio waves of everything from nearly the moment of creation to the movement of galaxies. And all it took to listen in was an antenna and a radio receiver.

Over the years, radio telescopes have gotten more and more sophisticated and sensitive, and consequently bigger and bigger. We're even to the point where one radio telescope often won't cut it, and astronomers build arrays of telescopes spread over miles and miles, some with antennas that move around on rails. In the search for signals, radio astronomy has become the very definition of "Big Science."

But radio astronomy doesn't have to be big to be useful. Jame Aguirre, an astronomer at the University of Pennsylvania, spends his days (and nights) studying the radio universe with those big instruments. But he's also passionate about down-scaling things and teaching everyone that small radio telescopes can be built on the cheap. His Mini Radio Telescope project uses a cast-off satellite TV dish and a couple of hundred bucks worth of readily available gear to scan the skies for all sorts of interesting phenomena. 

Dr. Aguirre will join us on the Hack Chat to discuss all things radio astronomy, and how you can get in on the radio action on the cheap. Chances are good your junk pile - or your neighbor's roof - has everything you need, and you might be surprised how approachable and engaging DIY radio astronomy can be.

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Steve wrote 02/11/2020 at 00:42 point

Given the success of the CHIME antenna array, I wonder if it's reasonable to think of creating a small version of that design and linking multiple installations using interferometry.

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Gonçalo Nespral wrote 02/10/2020 at 21:41 point

Great! I built my own radio telescope a while ago, so I’ll really be looking forward to this.

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Ameer wrote 02/07/2020 at 20:05 point

What a wonderful contribution!

I saw the GitHub repo but are there pictures or maybe youtube videos for the final product of particular Mini Radio Telescope?

Thank you in advance

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