The objective of this project is to gain a better appreciation of ground based radio astronomy as well as improving the resolution and quality of these radio observations. The final project will be manifested in a fully steerable radio satellite dish complete with a collection of signal processing hardware and software. Along the way, project members will be taught the basics of astronomy, signal processing, and data processing. The project is unique in that it unifies many different types of engineering and success will be contingent on how well all of those disciplines work together.
Throughout the first semester, the team built a prototype “itty bitty” telescope which served as a proof of concept and from which they learned the basics of the systems required for the large telescope.
In mid-October, the Radio Telescope Team constructed a functional azimuthal gear system base, powered by a stepper motor, which they will be using to rotate their prototype satellite dish! Here are a couple of time-lapse video of their accomplishment. Stay tuned to see the final product as they work towards observing and collecting data of our galaxy.
At the beginning of the second semester, the team chose three sub-team leaders: Akshaya Suresh as robotics team lead, Betsy Li for software, and Scott Smith for mechanical design.
Also, the big dish (2.4 m) arrived in late January from the Netherlands.
As of now, the team plans on having the large radio telescope finished in mid April. View photos of their progress below!
After finishing the large telescope, the team plans on traveling to schools and teaching local youth about astronomy and the process of building a radio telescope. Eventually, the team hopes to mount the telescope on a trailer for use by Astronomy professors at Yale.
Watch the team put their telescope together for the first time!
Devin Cody is this project’s team leader and is a sophomore mechanical engineering major. He worked on last year’s rocket competition team where he lead the payload sub-team.