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Harry D. Powell Astronomical Observatory at ETSU

Physics & Astronomy

ETSU's Radio Telescope

Harry D. Powell Observatory

ETSU's radio telescope, located at The Harry D. Powell Observatory, is the newest addition to the array of instruments. The radio telescope was purchased in 2001 and became operational in the spring of 2004. It was purchased with the aid of a NASA Education/Public Outreach Grant. The radio telescope will be used as an educational tool for freshman Astronomy I & II courses, for summer workshops for local middle and high school teacher, and will also serve as an outreach tool for regional high school students (See Outreach below).

The Haystack Observatory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed the original Small Radio Telescope (SRT). 

Our radio telescope consists of a digital L-band (1.42 GHz) receiver mounted at the focus of a 10 foot diameter parabolic reflecting antenna. The digital receiver provides a total bandwidth of 430 MHz and a total approximate beamwidth of 4.9 degrees. This large beamwidth combined with the specialized control software allows the telescope to be used for a wide variety of tasks including total power measurements from celestial sources and contour mapping of large regions of the sky. Below are some of the more technical specifications of the receiver.

Digital Receiver

**The 1200 kHz wideband is synthesized using 3500 kHz bands stitched together from a frequency scan.

Measuring the Beamwidth of the Radio Telescope:
This lab allows the student to learn about several properties of the radio telescope and lets them measure the beamwidth of the telescope using the Sun as a radio source. Students are then asked to compare this beamwidth with that of optical telescopes.
If you would like a copy of this lab, please contact .


Below you will find links to an assortment of documents detailing operation of the telescope. Most of the documents are written as if one is setting at the console at the observatory. If you have connected remotely by VNC then the telescope will (should) be powered up and operational, and all other documents will apply. Some of these documents were written by us and some by the folks at the Haystack Observatory .

How To:

turn on the Radio Telescope
run the new Radio Telescope Lab
connect to control computer with VNC (coming soon)
Other Documentation from Haystack Observatory
Small Radio Telescope Users Manual

We hope to have our outreach effort to local schools in place soon. It is our goal to make the radio telescope available to local classes via VNC (Virtual Network Computing) . This would make the telescope available to classes for long-term projects lasting a period of weeks or months. Such projects could include galactic cloud mapping, galactic rotation curve calculations, or observations of more distant objects like M31 (Andromeda galaxy).

Stay tuned for more information or email faculty for the latest developments with this program. Tentatively we would like to have this in place by next fall.

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