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Session 15 - Teaching of Astronomy.
Display session, Monday, June 10
Great Hall,

[15.03] A Rooftop Radio Observatory: U. C. Berkeley's New Instructional Telescope System

R. Parthasarathy, D. Cudaback, C. Heiles, R. Treffers, C. Frank, C. Hancox, R. Millan (U. C. Berkeley)

This poster provides a technical description of the radio telescope system recently constructed at U. C. Berkeley by Astronomy undergraduate majors with faculty guidance. The telescope system was built to teach fundamentals of radio astronomy to advanced undergraduates in the department and was used in an upper division laboratory course discussed in the accompanying talk.

The antenna is a two meter tall horn with a beam width of 15 degrees, supported by a hand-operated altitude-azimuth mount and optimized to observe the 21 cm HI line. The receiver consists of a double-heterodyning system, with a PC to sample and Fourier transform the signal and generate a power spectrum. A noise source injects a calibration signal via a directional coupler before the front-end amplifier. The microwave electronics are composed of ``off-the- shelf'' components. The antenna was designed from standard radio engineering texts and built by students. A block diagrams of the receiver, dimensioned horn diagram and parts lists will be available.

The telescope is located atop the building which houses the Astronomy Department. Despite its compact size, it can collect meaningful astronomical data, of which we present examples. With a view of much of the galactic plane, this system can investigate galactic structure as well as build galactic rotation and mass curves. Additionally, work has been done with this system at the 1665 MHz OH maser frequency.

We point out that the components of the system are accessible. The system is designed such that it can be examined and manipulated and in many cases assembled by the students using the telescope.

Program listing for Monday