Construction of a Radio Telescope to aid in Student Learning Outcomes of a Purposed Class
Project Site: University of Hawaii at Hilo
Mentor: Dr. Marianna Takamiya
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo would like to develop its program to include elements of radio astronomy in the existing laboratory courses of General Astronomy Lab and Observational Astronomy Lab. Adding an experiment in radio astronomy to these classes will allow students to have firsthand knowledge of the use and operation of a radio telescope used in the field of astronomy. To meet the requirements, the astronomy department has purchased radio telescope kits from NASA’s Radio JOVE project. To support students’ attainment of these learning goals, we assembled, calibrated, tested, and built the antennae. The project was then tested at UH Hilo and the Smithsonian Submillimeter Array Headquarters to detect and record signals. The radio telescope is designed to operate over a narrow range of frequencies centered on 20.1 MHz, which is optimal for detecting radio emission from Jupiter, the Sun, and the Galactic Background. These signals will be recorded and analyzed by custom software provided by the JOVE project. Construction of these small scale radio telescopes and antenna will allow students to gain valuable hands on experience in the operation of a radio telescope and will aid faculty in fulfilling the student learning outcome of the theory and operation of a radio telescope in future classes.