2011 Western Conference Abstracts

The following papers will be presented at the Western Conference April 2-3, 2011 at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical, Prescott, Arizona.

21 cm Cosmology
Dr. Judd Bowman
Arizona State University

How did the homogeneous and energetic universe that immediately followed the Big Bang evolve into the rich populations of giant clusters, galaxies, stars, and planets that we see today? Connecting these disparate times requires a detailed understanding of the evolution of pervasive hydrogen gas in the early universe. I will focus on use of two strategies to characterize interactions between primordial
hydrogen and the very first generations of stars, black holes, and galaxies less than 700 million years after the Big Bang. The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), under construction in Western Australia, and the Experiment to Detect the Global EoR Signature (EDGES) are two new radio telescopes that aim to exploit different observable properties of the 21 cm hyperfine transition line of neutral hydrogen to probe the cosmological epoch of reionization (EoR). Both instruments have recently passed important milestones and will soon open fundamentally new views of the early universe.

Geomagnetism Tutorial
Whitham D. Reeve
Anchorage, Alaska USA
Member, Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers

Abstract: Geomagnetism is the study of the Earth’s magnetic field environment. This paper provides a brief tutorial on magnetic units and the causes and characteristics of the Earth’s magnetic field and is an abridged version of a tutorial that may be downloaded from the web. This tutorial accompanies a paper on building and using the Simple Aurora Monitor, SAM-III 3-axis geomagnetometer, in the SARA 2011 Western Conference Proceedings.

Building and Using the SAM-III 3-Axis Geomagnetometer
Whitham D. Reeve
Anchorage, Alaska USA
Member, Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers

Abstract: The original 2-sensor Simple Aurora Monitor (SAM) geomagnetometer kits were retired in July 2010 and replaced with the SAM-III Kit. The SAM-III is a similar design but capable of using three sensors for orientation north-south, east-west and up-down (vertical). This paper describes the construction of the SAM-III and its application at Anchorage, Alaska USA. Also described are several
software application programs for viewing and logging SAM-III data and statistical analysis.

Solar Cycle 24 – Will It Be Unusually Quiet?
Rodney Howe (HRHA), SID Analyst, AAVSO Solar Section

For the last 40 years or so all the AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers) Very Low Frequency (VLF) Solar Ionospheric Disturbance (SID) data has been sent to NGDC (National Geophysical Data Center). In this paper these data are put into a database and graphed in hopes of understanding these VLF SID submissions. The graphics show the NGDC accumulated Importance Rating, (an index of the duration of solar flares), for all the AAVSO VLF SID submissions over the past 40 years. And, if we compare these VLF SID data with the last 3 solar cycles of sunspot number counts compiled by the Solen group (Jan Alvestad): http://www.solen.info/solar/cyclcomp.html it seems that the AAVSO VLF SID submissions to NGDC show our accumulated Importance Rating signals lag by 18 to 24 months after the start of each of the last three solar cycles! That puts our VLF radio's SID IR index measure at a point where it takes at least 100 sunspot counts per month before the VLF SID accumulated IR index even shows a signal through the noise floor of our ionosphere. The VLF observers importance rating index is just monitoring the tip of these solar cycles with our VLF radios when compared to the sunspot number count indexes. And if the Solen sunspot predictions are right for Cycle 24, the solar sunspot peak won't even reach the 70 mark for this next cycle. So, our VLF SID IR index signal submissions may not even be detectable in Cycle 24!

A Convenient Single Chip True Power Monitor for 1420 MHz
John L. DuBois

This paper describes a circuit using the Analog Devices AD8362 true power detector for calibrated continuum power measurements at 1420 MHz. This chip measures true RMS power from audio to 2.7 GHz, and delivers a dc voltage output linear in dB over a 60 dB range. This capability enables true power measurements directly at RF at levels as low as -50 dBm with no down conversion. Construction details, calibration, and application experience in a system working at the hydrogen line frequency are presented along with examples of drift scans obtained using this system.

The Geometry of Large Rotating Systems
Cameron Rout and Bruce Rout

To say that galactic structure and the large scale structure of the universe is controversial and in a state of flux is an understatement. The recognition that galaxies exist as a cosmic entity was only discovered in the mid 1920s. Finding their size, distances to them, their structure and even morphological classification has been and continues to be an arduous process by a great many people. These celestial objects have become a key to understanding the universe itself on a very large scale and provides a few small clues to discovering our place in it. Amateurs and professionals alike, interested in galaxies, would benefit in a definitive overview of the research, theories and conjectures concerning these objects. Educators and students of astronomy would also find a beginning platform for serious study in cosmology a great help. Therefore, Bruce and Cameron Rout of the Society of Amateur Radio
Astronomers, along with other members of the society, are joining Dr Smith, Chair of the Physics Dept of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University along a few of the facility including Dr Nick Devereux who's specialization is galaxy structures.