Radio Astronomy in Undergraduate Education

A SARA Regional Meeting was held on 16 November 2002 (during the Leonids meteor shower), at the Tamke-Allan Observatory of Roane State Community College in Eastern Tennessee. The meeing was organized by:

David E. Fields, Ph. D.

Observatory Director

Tamke-Allan Observatory

Roane State Community College

276 Patton Lane

Harriman, TN 37748-5011

865 882-4533 (Math-Sciences Division)

Home page:

fieldsde @


Charles Osborne reports:

Thought everyone might enjoy seeing the group shot (minus Janis who was
taking the picture) of the SARA Southeastern Regional Meeting held last
weekend at Roane State University, Harriman TN. David Fields, our host, is
second from the right in this shot taken at their off campus observatory.

Click on thumbnail to download full-size picture.

click on thumbnail to see full-size picture

Janis Osborne photo

David had invited a variety of hams and area astronomy club members to the
event, which drew anywhere from 20-30 people depending upon where/when you
took roll. Wanda Diaz and Omyra Aviles even came up from University of
Puerto Rico to present and attend. We met on campus Saturday morning in a
nice size ampitheatre style classroom with some excellent AV equipment.
Later we went to their off site observatory on a knoll overlooking the

A classroom adjoins the observatory dome. And as you can see, David has a
couple of dishes at the observatory. And he has a SpectraCyber system. He
also has JOVE/SkyPipe with Internet connectivity from there.

A copy of the schedule is pasted in below. Haystack Observatory had to
pre-empt our remote control demo for rocket launch tracking. And we had some
difficulties with the Internet Firewalls.. but I think we're all learning a
lot about the challenges of doing live demos over networks. My unrehearsed
demo of FFT signal processing of a live 217 MHz radar signal out of Alabama
for meteor observing worked better than expected using a 6 element yagi
lashed to the railing outside.

Saturday night was a public night at the observatory, so we returned after
supper for some additional talks. Even though the clouds precluded any
telescope viewing, several people come up just to see the lecture that

Sunday the Dean of Math and Science, Dr. Adolf King, invited Wanda, Omyra,
David, Janis, and I over to his house for lunch. He seemed very pleased with
the way the mini-conference came off. So was I.

A lot of fun was had by all.

The schedule for the meeting was as follows:

MORNING SESSION - Main RSCC Campus (Harriman)

0900 Welcome

0920 John Mannone, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Multispectral Radio Astronomy

0940 Charles Osborne, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI)

Education and Research Initiatives at Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute

1000 Wanda Diaz and Omayra Aviles, University of Puerto Rico

Applications of the University of Puerto Rico Radio Telescope (UPRT)

Radio Jove Projects in High School Teaching

1020 BREAK

1030 David Fields, Carl Lyster and Bill Howe, Tamke-Allan Observatory, Roane State Community College and Martin Marietta Corp.

Historic and Current Meteor Monitoring Activity

1050 Ken Roy, Ultimax Corporation

Shell Worlds

1110 LUNCH -- Cracker Barrel In Harriman

1330 AFTERNOON SESSION - Tamke-Allan Observatory

1330 Jim Thieman (on-line from Alaska, with Alaska Teacher's workshop) NASA/GSFC

Special Coordinated Solar Observing Time over Jove Network (solar observing)

1330-1530 EST TAO will be on-line observing solar emission for this event.

1330 Andy McFall, Wanda Diaz and David Fields, Tamke-Allan Observatory, Roane State Community College

Monitoring Radio Signals from Jupiter and the Sun (demonstration)

1400 Carl Lyster, Martin Marietta Corporation

Construction of a Neutral Hydrogen Spectrometer: Detection of Interstellar Hydrogen (demonstration)

1430 Eric Gern, Stan Kurtz and David Fields, Tamke-Allan Observatory, Roane State Community College

Remote Operation of the MIT Haystack Radio Telescope (demonstration)

1500 Charles Osborne, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI)

217 MHz Meteor Scatter using Naval Space Radar (demonstration)

1530 Wanda Diaz and Omayra Aviles, University of Puerto Rico

Remote Operation of the NRAO 40-foot Radio Telescope (demonstration)

1600 DINNER -- Cancun's In Harriman


1900 Roy Morrow, Tamke-Allan Observatory, Roane State Community College

CCD Astrophotography

1945 D.R. Fudge, J.A. Jones Corporation

Comments from the Obstreperous Astronomer

SUNDAY OPTIONAL EVENT - Visit To PARI (coordinated by Charles Osborne)

Thanks to Chuck Higgins of Middle Tennessee State University for sending Project Jove brochure handouts. Thanks to Dr. Wade McCamey and Dr. Adolf King of Roane State Community College for their encouragement. Thanks to Charles and Janis Osborne for helping contact the SARA members and for planning a visit to PARI.