AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 96 Astronomy Education: K-12
Poster, Wednesday, January 12, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[96.04] Monitoring Radio Frequency Interference: The Quiet Skies Project

S. Rapp (Linwood Holton Governor's School), C. Gear (Elkins High School), R.J. Maddalena, S.A. Heatherly (NRAO)

The Quiet Skies Project is a result of the Research Experience for Teacher (RET) program during the summer of 2004. Teachers were involved in discovering the relationship between radio frequency interference (RFI) and radio astronomy observations. S. Rapp participated in astronomy observations with the Green Bank Telescope in order to characterize RFI issues at radio observatories and worked closely with the Green Bank Interference Protection Group. This work included such tasks as mitigation of locally-generated RFI from power poles and running radiation propagation studies for transmitters within the National Radio Quiet Zone.

A curriculum was created to allow high school students to participate in a research effort to determine RFI levels in their communities. The aim of the project is to promote student awareness of radio astronomy and radio frequency interference through an inquiry-based science curriculum. It is hoped that the project will go national by 2007.

A prototype RFI detector was created and tested at four wavelengths; 850, 900, 1425, and 1675 MHz. High school students used a beta version of the RFI detector to explore the occurrence of RFI at their schools and in their communities. The student goals of the Quiet Skies Project are to:


\item Measure interference levels at their schools and in their communities;

\item Reduce and transmit their data to an NRAO data base;

\item Use online spectrum allocation data, and local information to determine possible causes of interference in their area;

\item Analyze the complex trade-offs between radio astronomy's need for quiet skies, and other commercial, and non-commercial uses of the spectrum and share their insights with others.


This work was funded by the NSF-RET program and a grant from the NASA-IDEAS program

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.nrao.edu/epo/. 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: rmaddale@nrao.edu

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