Feb 17, 2017 - Nielsen Hall Radio Telescope Online
A group of undergraduate and graduate students, led by OU Astronomy Professor John Tobin constructed a 10 foot radio telescope on the the
roof of Nielsen Hall last November and December. The dish was brought fully online in early February. The group followed the small radio telescope (SRT) plans made available by MIT Haystack Radio Observatory and constructed the dish entirely from off the shelf equipment.
The radio telescope presents exciting teaching and outreach opportunities because it operates in a fundamentally different way from optical telescopes. Instead of observing the light from stars and planets, this radio telescope observes the matter between the stars, the interstellar medium, through spectroscopy. The radio telescope specifically observes Hydrogen atoms throughout our Milky Way Galaxy emitting at a wavelength of 21 cm, from which the rotation of the Galaxy can be clearly seen through the Doppler effect. Introductory Astronomy students and those attending outreach events will see the operation of a radio telescope first-hand and observe the spectral line from Hydrogen in real-time. More advanced students will learn the fundamentals of radio astronomy and will carry out experiments such as mapping Hydrogen in space and measuring the rotational velocity of our Galaxy.
The project had the participation of undergraduate students Brian Stephenson, Lisa Patel and Jacob Gill, and of graduate students Nick Reynolds, Rajeeb Sharma, Hyunseop Choi and Paul Canton. Congratulations!
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