2016 Abstract from Ryan
Waves to Ones and Zeros: Data Acquisition in Radio Astronomy
Ryan Thornton (Marmion Academy) Dr. Christopher Stoughton (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)
Abstract I designed the data recording and analysis of the QuarkNet Radio Telescope, a telescope designed measure hydrogen’s emission of radio waves of around twentyone centimeters. The telescope is meant to map the hydrogen in the arms of the Milky Way galaxy, and is composed of a twometer disk, a feed horn configured to twentyone centimeter waves, an Airspy receiver to collect the data and send it to the Raspberry Pi, two linear actuators to rotate the dish, and a Raspberry Pi 3 to control the Airspy and motors and to record data. We intend the QuarkNet Radio Telescope to be inexpensive enough for enterprising high school teams to repeat the procedures and build a telescope. I created modules in the GNU Radio program with the programing language Python to average data using the Welch method and record the data to hdf5 files. To store the data, I set up a data storage system to transfer data from the Raspberry Pi 3 to the virtual server acting as a control and storage system. I then created the data analysis program using Python to display the data in a waterfall plot format.