We’ve had a large early-season blizzard here for the last couple of days. Once it calmed down, Marcus Leech took the opportunity to check on the equipment on the roof to make sure that it was all still intact and working properly.
Everything was as it should be.
Gary Atkins moved one of two all-sky camera systems onto the roof late last week. These camera systems are designed for detecting meteors, and we’ll be joining a “network” of such meteor cams around the world.
We’ll have a live feed of the camera pointed to from the website soon–but there are a few housekeeping details that need to be taken care of first.
We may also put a regular webcam “up top” just to show images of the antennae up on the roof. It will be boring, most of the time 🙂
Gary Atkins and Marcus Leech moved the 21cm dish “up top” today, so that it can join the pulsar antenna.
We used a rope and brute force. This won’t work for our 1.2m dishes and their mount pods–not without a hoist of some sort.
The next antennae to go “up top” will likely be our UHF interferometer antennae, probably spaced about 30m apart or more.
Gary Atkins and Marcus Leech moved two more equipment racks into the office/lab, and moved one of two 1.2m C-dishes and matching mount pedestal over to the centre today.
Heres a picture of the line-up of equipment, looking rather science-y.
The pulsar antenna is now plugged into the pulsar receiver system, which consists of a pair of AirSpy SDR receivers, fed with a high-quality 10MHz OCXO timebase.
We’re running a pulsar-specific flow-graph, written by Marcus Leech, and using Gnu Radio underneath.
There are many unknowns–we don’t know if the ambient noise level is low enough without aggressive filtering, we don’t know if our antenna effective aperture is quite up to the task. This will be a useful test, but a negative result cannot be interpreted to mean “won’t work”.
The 3 x 4-bay UHF pulsar antenna was installed on the roof today, and is wired up to the entrance bulkhead. Checkout will start in the next few days.
Gary ATkins and Marcus Leech worked away this evening on making the first of two stands for our two UHF interferometer antennae.
We had planned to put the pulsar antenna “up top” today, but ran out of daylight hours.
Got one of two UHF antenna “modules” assembled.
Each of these modules consists of two “8-bay” UHF HDTV antennae, and each of those actually breaks down into 2 4-bay modules. By designing with modularity in mind, and leveraging the economies-of-scale of consumer items like these antennae, we can scale up individual antenna modules in a step-wise fashion.
It’s looking more like a lab every day.
Managed to scavenge a couple of 80s-era “printer tables”. From back when they knew how to make office furniture that would last. I had to explain to my daughter what a printer table was….
Our first live data feed is now up and running, showing the neutral hydrogen spectrum as seen by our 21cm telescope, aimed at a declination of +40 degrees. This will show interstellar neutral hydrogen twice a day, for a couple of hours each time, when the galactic plane passes through the main beam of the antenna.
Check out our “Live Data” page for information.