Teaching: AST338 Radio Astronomy Techniques
This "hands-on" course is designed to familiarize students with the basic workings of radio telescopes, receivers, and spectrometers. This course has several labs to demonstrate the response pattern of antennas, the response of a two-element interferometer, and the basic operation of a radio receiver. The class also uses a 6-foot class telescope and the 14-m FCRAO telescope to learn about how radio measurements are made. Discussion of different types of radio sources is also presented, including radio galaxies, quasars, pulsars, HII regions, the Sun and planets, atomic gas clouds, and molecular clouds. Several observing labs allow students to acquire data and use it to interpret the physical conditions of these radio sources. The course also has a independent project that allows students to make observations, build equipment, or study some radio astronomy topic of interest.
A picture of the class 6-foot telescope is shown in the picture below. This telescope operates at 1420 MHz (21 cm wavelength) and with a scanning spectrometer, can make measurements of the 21-cm line of atomic hydrogen. A picture of the scanning spectrometer is also shown.