AAS 197, January 2001
Session 87. Innovations in Teaching Astronomy II
Joint Display, Wednesday, January 10, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[87.18] 21-cm Observations with the Morehead Radio Telescope: Involving Undergraduates in Observing Programs

B.K. Malphrus, M.S. Combs (Morehead State University), J. Kruth (Kruth Microwave Electronics)

Herein we report astronomical observations made by undergraduate students with the Morehead Radio Telescope (MRT). The MRT, located at Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky, is small aperture (44-ft.) instrument designed by faculty, students, and industrial partners to provide a research instrument and active laboratory for undergraduate astronomy, physics, pre-engineering, and computer science students. Small aperture telescopes like the MRT have numerous advantages as active laboratories and as research instruments. The benefits to students are based upon a hands-on approach to learning concepts in astrophysics and engineering. Students are provided design and research challenges and are allowed to pursue their own solutions. Problem-solving abilities and research design skills are cultivated by this approach. Additionally, there are still contributions that small aperture centimeter-wave instruments can make. The MRT operates over a 6 MHz bandwidth centered at 1420 MHz (21-cm), which corresponds to the hyperfine transition of atomic hydrogen (HI). The HI spatial distribution and flux density associated with cosmic phenomena can be observed and mapped. The dynamics and kinematics of celestial objects can be investigated by observing over a range of frequencies (up to 2.5 MHz) with a 2048-channel back-end spectrometer, providing up to 1 KHz frequency resolution. The sensitivity and versatility of the telescope design facilitate investigation of a wide variety of cosmic phenomena, including supernova remnants, emission and planetary nebulae, extended HI emission from the Milky Way, quasars, radio galaxies, and the sun. Student observations of galactic sources herein reported include Taurus A, Cygnus X, and the Rosette Nebula. Additionally, we report observations of extragalactic phenomena, including Cygnus A, 3C 147, and 3C 146. These observations serve as a performance and capability test-bed of the MRT. In addition to the astronomical results of these experiments, tests of the positional accuracy, system sensitivity, and receiver response are inherent in this series of experiments. The MRT was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.morehead-st.edu/colleges/science/physical/mao/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: b.malphr@morehead-st.edu

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