Tag Archives: Radio Astronomy

Reminder: 2017 Eclipse Experiment

A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. (Source: NASA)

The 2017 eclipse is quickly approaching (August 21)–!!

If you would like to participate in a fascinating radio experiment coinciding with the event, check out this undertaking outlined on the website HamSCI. Note that you do not need to be in the path of totality in order to participate.

Here’s the summary:

On 21 August 2017, a total solar eclipse will traverse the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina in a period of just over 90 minutes.

Previous research shows that the shadow of the eclipse will impact the ionospheric state, but has not adequately characterized or explained the temporal and spatial extent of the resulting ionospheric effects.

HamSCI is inviting the amateur radio community to contribute to a large scale experiment by participating in an Eclipse QSO party and further developing automatic observation networks such as the Reverse Beacon Network.

Data resulting from these activities will be combined with observations from existing ionospheric monitoring networks in an effort to characterize and understand the ionospheric temporal and spatial effects caused by a total solar eclipse.

Click here to read the full detailed experiment at HamSCI online.

The Itty Bitty Radio Telescope Kit

(Source: The SETI League)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who writes:

You know my amateur astronomy background. And With the building interest in next month’s Solar Eclipse – and your recent posting from Sky&Telescope re: “How to watch the solar eclipse with your AM radio” – I thought this might be of interest if you haven’t see it yet.

Introducing: “The Itty Bitty Radio Telescope”

Background is here:
http://www.setileague.org/articles/lbt.pdf

Here’s a guide written for teachers as a class project:
http://www.aoc.nrao.edu/epo/teachers/ittybitty/procedure.html

Here’s a guide for building one yourself:
http://www.stargazing.net/david/radio/itty_bitty_radio_telescope.html

And here’s a pre-assembled kit off eBay:
https://goo.gl/HnLUu2

Thank you for sharing this, Troy! I’m amazed at how affordable simple radio telescopes have become. In the 1990s, I was absolutely fascinated with the SETI League’s Project Argus and had planned to build a telescope, but the parts (including an Icom IC-7000) easily totaled over $1,000 at the time–too much for a college student! I imagine a proper Project Argus scope can be built for less than $300 today. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider!

Thanks again, Troy!

Ham Radio: 2017 Eclipse Experiment

A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. (Source: NASA)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Colin Newell, who shares a fascinating 2017 eclipse experiment outlined on the website HamSCI.

Here’s the summary of the experiment:

On 21 August 2017, a total solar eclipse will traverse the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina in a period of just over 90 minutes.

Previous research shows that the shadow of the eclipse will impact the ionospheric state, but has not adequately characterized or explained the temporal and spatial extent of the resulting ionospheric effects.

HamSCI is inviting the amateur radio community to contribute to a large scale experiment by participating in an Eclipse QSO party and further developing automatic observation networks such as the Reverse Beacon Network.

Data resulting from these activities will be combined with observations from existing ionospheric monitoring networks in an effort to characterize and understand the ionospheric temporal and spatial effects caused by a total solar eclipse.

Click here to read the full detailed experiment at HamSCI online.

Receiving Jupiter with the SDRplay RSP1

I’ve been fascinated with radio astronomy since my university days. In the 1980s and 90s almost any radio astronomy experiment equated to forking out some serious money to purchase a wideband receiver (serious money to a student, at least). With the advent of SDRs, though, radio astronomy has become affordable for everyone.

Many thanks to RTL-SDR.com for publishing the following video and post about monitoring Jupiter radio bursts:

Over on YouTube user MaskitolSAE has uploaded a video showing him receiving some noise bursts from Jupiter with his SDRplay RSP1. The planet Jupiter is known to emit bursts of noise via natural ‘radio lasers’ powered partly by the planets interaction with the electrically conductive gases emitted by Io, one of the the planets moons. When Jupiter is high in the sky and the Earth passes through one of these radio lasers the noise bursts can be received on Earth quite easily with an appropriate antenna

In his video MaskitolSAE shows the 10 MHz of waterfall and audio from some Jupiter noise bursts received with his SDRplay RSP1 at 22119 kHz. According to the YouTube description, it appears that he is using the UTR-2 radio telescope which is a large Ukrainian radio telescope installation that consists of an array of 2040 dipoles. A professional radio telescope installation is not required to receive the Jupiter bursts (a backyard dipole tuned to ~20 MHz will work), but the professional radio telescope does get some really nice strong bursts as seen in the video.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to read at RTL-SDR.com.

As Carl mentions above, you do not need a professional radio telescope to receive Jupiter noise bursts, a dipole will do.

In fact, the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) has a dedicated Jupiter receiver–a simple SDR kit called the Radio JOVE Receiver which is promoted by NASA. While PARI has the resources to install any number of antennas, PARI uses two simple dipoles which are mounted only a few feet off the ground as their radio telescope. I doubt their investment in the antennas exceeded $50. It works brilliantly.

The Radio JOVE receiver at PARI

I had planned to purchase and build a JOVE receiver (and, for fun, still may!), but it would be much easier to simply use the SDRplay RSP I already have in my shack. What a great project this fall.

Post readers: Please comment if you’ve used an SDR or JOVE kit to receive Jupiter bursts!

Arecibo: Legendary radio telescope hangs in the balance

The Arecibo Radio Telescope, at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. At 1000 feet (305 m) across, it is the second largest dish antenna in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares the following story from Nature:

“Some of the observatories targeted in the review have found potential partners: New Mexico State University in Las Cruces is leading an effort to take over the Dunn Solar Telescope in Sunspot, New Mexico. Others remain in limbo, including the 100-metre radio telescope in Green Bank, West [Virgina], where university partners have offered limited help.”

Click here to read the full article on Nature’s website.