2010 Annual Conference Abstracts

The Annual Conference to be held at Green Bank, West Virginia July 4 to 7, 2010 will feature the following presentations in addition to the Keynote presentation by Dr. James Thieman and the Radio Jove team.

Interfacing A Pan/Tilt Mount To Planetarium Software
By Paul Oxley
The paper describes a system that interfaces between a pan and tilt mount and readily available planetarium software using the Astronomy Common Object Model (ASCOM) standards. The system uses a driver created in C# language that works with the ASCOM platform to receive position commands from Planetarium software such as “The Sky” or “Cartes du Ciel.” A PIC microprocessor is used via the USB port to generate the necessary control voltages for the Pan and Tilt motors. The paper also describes the challenges faced when developing a real time control system using techniques such as multi-threading and multiple processor interfaces.
The Space Weather Monitor Program
By Nicholas Gross, Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling, Boston University
Deborah Scherrer, Stanford Solar Center, Stanford University
Solar activity can involve explosive events such as Solar X-Ray Flares which can have dramatic effects here on Earth. X-Ray Flares can cause sudden changes in the ionosphere that can effect radio transmissions. The Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance (SID) Monitor is an inexpensive instrument, funded through NSF and NASA, used to look for abrupt changes in the signal strength of a known radio transmitter caused by disruptions in the ionosphere due to Solar Flares. These instruments have been distributed for student use in the classrooms both nationally and internationally under the guidance of suitable mentors. The monitor plugs into a computer that collects the data and can upload results to a central database. The user builds their own loop antenna. This talk will describe the science of the Solar Flares, their interaction with the Earth’s Ionosphere, the operations of the SID monitor, and the science that can be done using the monitor.

Research on Structure and Dynamics of Spiral Galaxies
By Bruce Rout
Abstract: The following four papers; The Spiral Structure of NGC 3198, A Comparison of Distance Measurements to NGC 4258 and Distance, Rotational Velocities, Red Shift, Mass, Length and Angular Momentum of 111 Spiral Galaxies in the Southern Hemisphere, challenges the existence of dark matter, establishes a straight-forward method of measuring the distance to spiral galaxies and presents an accurate Hubble diagram of galaxies in the Southern Hemisphere which seriously questions the theory of an expanding universe.

Geomagnetometry for Amateur Radio Astronomers
By Whitham D. Reeve
Part I
Abstract: The Earth's magnetic field is directly affected by the Sun. This paper provides an overview of the Earth's magnetic properties and characteristics, how we measure and keep track of the Sun's effects, and the characteristics of geomagnetic storms. A companion paper, Application of the Simple Aurora Monitor (SAM) at Northern Latitudes, discusses an instrument that amateur radio astronomers can use to monitor geomagnetic activity.

Application of the Simple Aurora Monitor (SAM) Geomagnetometer at Northern Latitudes
By Whitham D. Reeve
Part II
Abstract: The Earth's magnetic field reacts to solar activity in various ways. The reaction at northern latitudes (> 60 deg. N) can be quite spectacular and interesting. This paper discusses the Simple Aurora Monitor (SAM) geomagnetometer and its application and performance in the Reeve Observatory over the one year period from May 2009 to May 2010. Comparisons with solar events and the Alaska Magnetometer Chain and GOES are included. A working SAM will be available at the SARA 2010 Conference for examination by conference participants. The SAM is a semi-professional system that is available in kit form.

Radio Astronomy with Moby Dish
By David E Fields and Stan Kurtz
An abandoned 4.5 m C-band dish has been reconditioned for radio astronomy applications. Adventures and results will be presented and discussed. It was anticipated that the dish would be, because of its gain, useful for a variety of research and educational projects. The ensuing adventure was more involved than expected -- it included disassembly, transport, extensive modification to permit Alt/Az agility, and erection, plus development of control and monitoring electronics. Local flora and fauna provided their own challenges and insults. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made and initial results of the project will be presented.

Amateur Solar Radio Astronomy: An Integrated Approach
By John C. Mannone
Abstract: After a general introduction on solar emission dynamics and the Earth-Sun connection, various tools available to the amateur solar radio astronomer are discussed. As an example, electromagnetic waves and particle fluxes from a specific solar event (coronal mass ejection) will be followed from its occurrence to its detection by various radio astronomy instruments inexpensively available to the amateur (Radio JOVE, SID, Natural Radio, etc.). The emphasis will be on correlation of observations (across the EM spectrum) with other amateur data. In addition, it is shown how to acquire professional data. This includes equipment in terrestrial observatories and space satellites and probes (Nancay Array, SOHO, GOES, etc.)

The Phase Switched Interferometer
By Bruce Randall WD4JQV
The Phase Switched Interferometer is a method of getting improved resolution with amateur size instruments. It uses the interference pattern of a pair of antennas spaced along a baseline to resolve more detail. This paper is a look at how it works, a practical way to build one, and some observations with the instrument. The instrument described here operates at 408MHz.

Statistical Methods for 20 MHz Continuum Measurements using the Radio Jove RJ 1.2 Dipole Array

By John G. Younger, MD, MS
Using the RJ1.2 array for continuum measurements is a challenge in that it has a broad and fixed beam, is tuned at a wavelength at which the sky has low spatial signal variability, and may be unavoidably deployed in a high-noise environment. Identifying extraterrestrial sources is fraught with over-interpretation of signals that may not be reproducible night-to-night. Here I develop a framework for statistically summarizing multiple nights’ observations from the RJ1.2 and constructing confidence bounds around those observations. I also describe a simulation method to estimate how many observations may be necessary to affirm the extraterrestrial nature of a noise source.

Observations of Pulsars at 26.3 and 45 MHz using Two Large Arrays
By Francisco Reyes
Some of the complications for detecting pulsars at low frequency are the decrease of the flux density of the pulses, the increase of the galactic background noise temperature and the increase of the dispersion of the pulses.

In the 1980’s two large low frequency arrays were used for observing pulsars. It was possible to obtain the pulse shape and width, the pulse flux density and energy and the dispersion measure. The restrictions, limitations and the requirements for making low frequency observations of pulsars will be discussed.

Forget the X-Box, kids, let’s have some fun with some real toys!
By Jim Moravec
In today’s environment of cool cell phones, MP-3 players and X-Boxes, is it possible to capture the interest of today’s youth with applied science? The answer is a resounding, “Yes”! Through thoughtful mentoring, students can be motivated and excited about participating in many real-world science projects and programs. In Denver, Colorado, high school students are working with college students of various ages on a number of astronomy projects for various agencies and institutions such as Stanford University and Cal Tech. Through this program, all students experience working with a science team, gain skills needed in using and applying science technologies and learn what is required to work within the science field. Can you put together a program of this type? Absolutely!