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Radio2space: radio astronomy with SPIDER radio telescopes

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Radio astronomy is a fascinating science and it studies the Universe by detecting radio emission from many objects like the Sun, the Milky way, planets, galaxies and nebulas. In this presentation Filippo Bradaschia, Radio2Space co-founder, gives an overview on radio astronomy history and basic physics. Then he introduces the most important radio sources in the Universe and the Radio2Space affordable radio telescopes that allows any school, university, museum or science institute to make real radio astronomy with powerful but affordable, compact and easy to use SPIDER radio telescopes.

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Radio2space: radio astronomy with SPIDER radio telescopes

  1. 1. Radio astronomy with SPIDER radio telescopes FILIPPO BRADASCHIA Ph.D. CEO and Co-founder www.radio2space.com
  2. 2. 1) Introduction: discovery of the invisible Universe 2) How radio waves are generated in the Universe 3) How the Universe appears in radio waves 4) Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy www.radio2space.com Radio astronomy with SPIDER radio telescopes
  3. 3. When we usually think about astronomy, we think of the stars at night we can see from non-light polluted skies with the naked eye... (image credit: Maurizio Casula) Discovery of the invisible UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  4. 4. ...or we think of the night sky we can observe and photograph with our telescope. BUTTHIS IS ONLY PART OFTHE STORY! Discovery of the invisible UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  5. 5. Karl Jansky
 (image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF) In 1931, studying strange interference in telephone communications, Karl Jansky discovered radio waves coming from the sky, eventually discovering their source as the center of the Milky Way. Discovery of the invisible UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  6. 6. Grote Reber with his radio telescope
 (image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF) Fascinated by Jansky’s results, a young American engineer named Grote Reber decided to build what we now consider to be the first parabolic radio telescope (close to 10 meter diameter) with an alt-azimuth mount in the garden of his home and built a custom radio receiver. Discovery of the invisible UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  7. 7. Grote Reber radio maps (image credit: NRAO/AUI) After his initial failures, in 1938, Reber began recording the radio signals coming from the Milky Way. He also succeeded where Jansky had failed - to attract the attention of astronomers by converting the pure numerical data into maps of the radio sky, like the one we can see here. Discovery of the invisible UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  8. 8. The electromagnetic spectrum Karl Jansky and Grote Reber discovered that objects in the Universe emit not only the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we call light, but also also other types of electromagnetic waves like radio (they also emit gamma rays, ultraviolet and infrared) - and almost all of these electromagnetic waves can not be perceived by our eye. How radio waves are generated in the UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  9. 9. In fact from the ground we can’t detect all the electromagnetic waves because the Earth’s atmosphere blocks all of the frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, except for visible light and radio waves. That's why astronomers, if they wanted to explore particular frequencies, would have to use space telescopes - only an optical telescope or a radio telescope can be used from the ground. How radio waves are generated in the UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  10. 10. Natural emission of electromagnetic waves Across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, objects emit waves for many different reasons but it’s important to know that they are divided into 2 main classes: THERMAL RADIATION has an intensity that increases with the frequency and NON- THERMAL RADIATION with an intensity that decreases with increasing frequency. This division is fundamental because, even considering only radio waves, there are some objects that emit high frequency waves (and they are calledTHERMAL SOURCES) while others are emit low frequency waves (they are called NON-THERMAL SOURCES). How radio waves are generated in the UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  11. 11. Thermal emission: Wien’s displacement law Thermal emissions are regulated by a fundamental law called “Wien's displacement law”. In practice, this law states that the emitted radiation, with an increase in body temperature, has a peak of emission towards shorter wavelengths. Hence all the bodies with a certain temperature emit all the wavelengths. How radio waves are generated in the UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  12. 12. electron electron Electromagnetic wave emission Non thermal emission: free-free Other mechanisms, called NON-THERMAL, generate radio waves through mechanisms that do not depend on temperature. An example is the FREE-FREE EMISSION in interstellar hydrogen clouds in which the light coming from nearby stars tends to ionize (to make electrically charged) gases. The interaction between the electrons and the positive ions change the trajectory of moving charges which, according to Maxwell's laws on electromagnetism, emits electromagnetic radiation. How radio waves are generated in the UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  13. 13. Non thermal emission: synchrotron emission Electron trajectory in magnetic field electron radio emission Magnetic field flux line Another example is the SYNCHROTRON EMISSION which occurs when a charged particle enters a magnetic field which, based on the laws of electromagnetism, is forced in spiral movements around the field lines.The particle is thus accelerated and there is an emission of electromagnetic waves. How radio waves are generated in the UniverseRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  14. 14. Image credit: NRAO/AUI All stars emit radio waves but the signals can be weak so they are hard to detect.The Sun is one of the strongest radio sources in the sky because it’s the closest star to us. The visible light is produced by a layer of the Sun called PHOTOSPHERE, while radio waves are generated in external areas such as the CHROMOSPHERE or the CORONA. In this 1420 MHz radio map you can see some "brighter" areas related to sunspots and to non-thermal emissions generated by the magnetic field lines in sunspots. How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  15. 15. Image credit: NRAO The Moon has a thermal emission and this radio map has been recorded at a higher frequency than the previous one of the Sun. The radio emission coming from our natural satellite comes from a deep layer about 10 wavelengths (so to 30 cm deep if we analyze it at 11 GHz, that is about 3cm of wavelength). For this reason, the area of the Moon that in visible wavelengths is black, in radio waves it is not completely black: in fact in this deep layer there is always a residual heat. How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  16. 16. Image credit: NRAO/AUI Solar System planets also emit radio waves even if, moving away from the Sun, they are more difficult to detect as they become increasingly cold. But JUPITER, at low frequencies (around 22 MHz) has a very strong radio emission (not thermal) that derives from electrons moving along the lines of force of its magnetic field. These electrons derive from Io, one of Jupiter's satellites. Its volcanic eruptions carry into the space gases that are ionized by ultraviolet solar radiation and form an ionized cloud along its orbital plane. How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  17. 17. Image credit: NASA Radio telescopes allow us to explore a very different universe from what we see in visible wavelengths. In fact some objects appear in the radio universe that aren’t in the visible one and vice versa.You can see here how our galaxy, the Milky Way, changes its appearance when studied in different wavelengths. How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  18. 18. Image credit (center): Argelander-Institut für Astronomie Image credit (below): C.G.T. Haslam et al., Max-Planck- Institut für Radioastronomie Please pay attention to how this image of the sky changes in visible light (top left), compared to radio waves (in the middle and in the lower right). It seems to show a completely different universe, but these pictures are an expression of the same universe that changes if analyzed at different wavelengths. How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  19. 19. Image credit: DSS - Digitized Sky Survey Let's look at an example in detail: Note the small galaxy in the center of this photo. This galaxy is located in a particular area of the constellation of the Swan and seems to us normal, although it appears very weak and small. How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  20. 20. Image credit: NRAO/AUI If we change frequency and look at its radio image (recorded with a radio telescope) we discover that the galaxy emits a large amount of radio waves from material expelled from its nucleus.The two "lobes" are generated from continuous emission of matter from a black hole at the center of the galaxy. How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  21. 21. Courtesy: NRAO/AUI Image credit: NRAO/AUI and N.E. Kassim, Naval Research Laboratory The interstellar gas present on the plane of the Milky Way prevents us from seeing details at the center of our galaxy. But radio waves pass undisturbed through these areas.This way we can study the areas that are related to the presence of a black hole.Above, we can see the magnification of the object located at the center of the Milky Way (known as the Sagittarius A) in which ionized gas whirls around the black hole. How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  22. 22. Image credit: NRAO/AUI In addition to interstellar gas, what are the main radio sources in the Universe? Cassiopeia A is one of the strongest and is a supernova remnant. It is very difficult to record in the visible spectrum since it is obscured by interstellar gas - it’s easy to detect in radio waves. How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  23. 23. Image credit: NRAO/AUI The Crab Nebula (also known as M1) in radio waves is called Taurus A. It looks similar to the visible images (bottom right) but in the radio one (left) you can see in the center a bright spot. It’s a pulsar, a neutron star (a supernova remnant that created the nebula) that rotates on its axis at a very high speed emitting radio waves from its "poles". How the Universe appears in radio wavesRadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes
  24. 24. The Very Large Array radio telescope, New Mexico (USA) Radio telescopes, used to study the Universe in radio wavelengths, are different from the telescopes we are used to: they do not have the same lenses or mirrors that are used in optical telescopes and that amplify the light that our eye is sensitive too. RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  25. 25. RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes In a normal optical telescope (a Newtonian model shown here) a concave (parabolic) mirror converges light towards a focal point. This is then laterally reflected by a flat mirror towards the eyepiece or camera. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  26. 26. RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes A radio telescope with a parabolic antenna works in a similar way. Instead of a mirror, whose aluminized surface reflects visible wavelengths, here metallic "mirrors" are used to reflect radio waves and send them to the preamplifier at the focal point. The received signal is then transmitted through a special cable to the receiver. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  27. 27. Northern Cross radio telescope, Medicina (Italy) RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes It is worth noting that the antenna design may vary in different radio radio telescopes. In fact, parabolic antennas are usually used for frequencies higher than 1 GHz, while for lower frequencies, other types of antennas are frequently used (dipoles, for example). The Northern Cross radio telescope (left) of Medicina near Bologna - Italy, uses special parabolic cylinder antennas to study the 408 MHz frequency.... Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  28. 28. 32 meters radio telescope, Medicina (Italy) RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes ...while radio astronomers use the large parabolic antenna to receive signals (MedicinaVLBI antenna works from 1.4 up to 23 GHz.) In this photo you can also see the large alt-azi mount that is usually the preferred solution to move such a large antenna. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  29. 29. RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Radio telescopes study signals that are usually very weak compared to background noise of the receiver system. That’s why professional radio astronomers use special receivers, complex computers, and other radio devices to analyze the radio signal kept. Part of the "back-end" of the Medicina radio telescope (Italy) Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  30. 30. SPIDER RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Radio astronomy is a fascinating science but can be difficult in execution. That’s why we developed the SPIDER radio telescope - The first compact radio telescope (available in different diameters) that brings professional-level technology to the educational (schools, universities, science museums) and research (science institutes, space agencies) markets at an affordable price. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  31. 31. Diameter: 2.3 meter Mount: equatorial Weatherproof: no Diameter: 3.0 meter Mount: alt-az Weatherproof: yes Diameter: 5.0 meter Mount: alt-az Weatherproof: yes RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes SPIDER radio telescopes are turnkey systems composed of the antenna, mount, pier, receiver and software, ready to capture radio waves coming from space.Antenna diameters range from 2.3 to 5 meters. Professional radio telescopeAdvanced radio telescopeCompact radio telescope Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  32. 32. H142-One 1420 MHz radio astronomy receiver Central frequency: 1420 MHz 50 MHz received instantaneous bandwidth 1024 channels spectrometer 14 bit analog to digital converter RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Every SPIDER radio telescope comes with the H142-One receiver, a 1420 MHz frequency receiver, radiometer and spectrometer with all-in- one design, very high sensitivity and stability. Designed and developed with the collaboration of the Bologna INAF Institute of Radio Astronomy. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  33. 33. RadioUniversePRO control and processing software RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes SPIDER radio telescope is controlled by RadioUniversePRO software, the complete control and processing suite for Radio2Space radio telescopes. It features many features like RFI removal, antenna alignment, planetarium, calibration, spectra, radiometry, radio maps, and more. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  34. 34. RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes SPIDER radio telescopes are installed outside and remotely controlled from the control room where the receiver and computer are housed. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  35. 35. Instruments SPIDER radio telescope (antenna, mount and pier) Control room (receiver and software) RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes The control room is connected to the outdoor antenna and mount with proper power and data cables installed in an underground conduit. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  36. 36. Result example: radio maps Milky Way Taurus A (M1 in radio waves) This radio map has been captured in daytime and with cloudy conditions! RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes RadioUniversePRO allows the radio telescope operator to capture a radio map of a defined area of the sky. Starting from the definition of a coordinate matrix, the software moves the antenna to detect the radiometric value for every point, then generate the map. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  37. 37. Result example: neutral Hydrogen line detection Neutral Hydrogen line recorded on the Milky Way plane The neutral Hydrogen line has been captured in daytime and with cloudy conditions! RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Other results can be recorded by creating a calibrated spectrum - After an automatic goto/ slew to a radio source, the software performs a spectrum capture (ON point) and performs a calibration on the background noise (OFF point). Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  38. 38. Result example: Cross-Scan Transit and capture of the radio signal coming from the Sun RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes With a Cross-Scan, RadioUniversePRO is able to detect the maximum radiometric emission of the object studied, by moving the antenna to different positions in the sky. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  39. 39. Accessories: hardware NSGen noise generator for absolute calibration to allow RadioUniversePRO software to calculate the flux in Jy of a radio source or sky area. RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes All-sky camera for SPIDER radio telescopes to remotely see the radio telescope and the full-sky both in day and night time. UltraSonic Wind Sensor for SPIDER radio telescopes to read wind speed and automatically park the radio telescope if the wind exceed safety speed. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  40. 40. Accessories: software Networking module for RadioUniversePRO allows remote control via the Internet (capabilities based on the license). RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Multimedia module for RadioUniversePRO allows RadioUniversePRO to be used in museums and in more-general didactic use. SETI module for RadioUniversePRO extends the use of RadioUniversePRO to detect possible artificial signals for SETI. Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  41. 41. Instruments Installations: New Mexico Tech college near The Very Large Array (USA) RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  42. 42. Instruments Installazioni: VLA Installations: Queens College (Hong Kong) RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  43. 43. Instruments Installations: Dr. Karl Remeis Observatory in Deggendorf (Germany) RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  44. 44. Instruments Installations: Deggendorf Institute of Technology (Germany) RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  45. 45. Instruments Installations: Visitor Center of Medicina radio telescopes (Italy) RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy
  46. 46. Thanks to the Radio2Space radio telescopes,
 you don’t need to be a radio astronomer to perform real radio astronomy! RadioastronomywithSPIDERradiotelescopes Radio2Space radio telescopes for radio astronomy

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