Undergraduate Radio Lab

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This course consists of four laboratory experiments that concentrate on radio instrumentation and laboratory techniques. We will build receiving, observing, and data analysis systems for two telescopes: a single-dish 21-cm line system, and a 10.7-GHz interferometer. We will use these telescopes for astronomical observing projects including structure of the Milky Way galaxy, precise position measurement of several radio sources, and measurement of the radio brightness distributions of the sun and moon with high angular resolution. There is a heavy emphasis on digital data acquisition, software development in the Python language, and high-quality written reports.

Class Programmatics


General Skills Used Through-Out Course

Topics by Date

Lab 1 (Analog Lab) Due Feb 6 5:00p

Lab 2 (Digital Lab) Due Mar 3 5:00p

Lab 3 (Interferometer Lab) Due Apr 7 5:00p

  • Lab 3, Part 1 (Mar 04)
    • Quiz 7 on:
    • Breakout Sessions:
      • Exercise Ball Coordinates and Dynabee Precession
      • Interferometry with Strings
      • Tour of the Rooftop Interferometer
  • No Class (Mar 25)
  • Lab 3, Part 4 (Apr 01)
    • Quiz 10 on:
    • Breakout Sessions:
      • Lab feedback
      • Presentations on progress
      • Photon bucket demo
    • Lab 3 (Interferometer Lab) Due Apr 7 5:00p

Lab 4 (Dish Lab) Due May 5 5:00p

  • Lab 4, Part 1 (Apr 08)
    • Quiz 11 on:
    • Breakout Sessions:
      • Leuschner Field trip
        • drive mechanism (how the dish moves)
        • feed (notice probes) and cables
        • IF setup (one channel for OH, one for HI)
        • show spectrum
        • demo action
        • spatial sampling with dish
  • Lab 4, Part 3 (Apr 22)

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