Pisgah Forest Institute
Other  Workshops
Contact Us

Up Link

Workshop Registration
Workshop Agenda
Astronomy Basics
Smiley Users Manual

Five radio astronomy labs are available for remote use of the 4.6 meter radio telescope. Lab 1 is an introduction to radio emission from space.  This lab is a good one for your first set of observations.  The second lab concentrates  on the different ways radio waves are produced in space. The third lab uses the 4.6 meter radio telescope to observe the Doppler Effect. The fourth lab uses the 4.6 meter radio telescope to map a celestial radio source, like the Sun, at radio wavelengths. The fifth lab uses the 4.6 meter radio telescope to find the rotation rates of different clouds of hydrogen gas and uses Hubble Space Telescope pictures to find the size of newly forming solar systems in the Orion Nebula.

Click on your Lab selection to begin...

Lab 1. Whats Between
the Stars?

Download PDF

Students are familiar with the visible night sky.  The goal of this module is to expand their vision of the night sky.  The introduction to the lab includes a description of visible images of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, or the Orion Nebula. The students will download the images from the SGRA website.  The observations, using the PARI 4.6-m radio telescope, will consist of mapping 21-cm emission from either the center of the Milky Way or Orion.  Results will be a comparison of the visible and radio maps, and a discussion of the difference.

Lab 2. Detecting Radio Waves

Download PDF

Similar to visible light, radio waves from celestial objects can be observed in emission, absorption, or as a continuum.  The introduction to this module describes the mechanisms for the production of the radio waves.  Observations will be spectra of a radio emission line object, an absorption line object, and a continuum source.  This module is different from the others in that it measures spectra, rather than mapping the spatial extent of an object.  Spectroscopy may be most appropriate for the upper grades. Results and discussion concentrate on interpreting the observations in terms of the different types of radio wave radiation.

Lab 3. Doppler Effect

Download PDF

The frequency of radio waves emitted by a moving changes.  If the object is moving towards us, then the frequency becomes higher. If it is moving away, then the frequency is lowered and we say the object is redshifted.  The goal of this module is to have the students observe the Doppler Effect. The  students will measure the 1420 MHz frequency (21-cm wavelength) shift for several objects.

Lab 4. Mapping

Download PDF

The goal of this module is to develop mapping and graphing skills, which are important in scientific inquiry.  After an introduction on the concept of contour maps, students will set out to observe a radio source (e.g. Orion Nebula).  They will sample the brightness of the source at regular spatial intervals over the area of the object.  Without the use of a computer, the students will work together plotting the intensities by hand, developing a contour map.  Results and discussion center on the contour map that was produced and how well it represents the actual object.

Lab 5. Smiley Nebula and Propolyd Lab

Download PDF

.The goal of these modules is to present proplyds as objects that represent the Solar System early in its formation. This goal satisfies the Origin and Evolution of the Earth Content Standard, Grades 9-12 from the National Science Education Standards. Based on the section Content Standards, Grades 9-12 from the National Science Education Standard that pertain to physical sciences, review of the two modules shows that the Unifying Concepts and Processes, Science as an Inquiry, and Science and Technology, are completely met considering the close tie between the technology using the 4.6-m radio telescope and remote astronomical observations made with that telescope.

Please read our page addressing SGRA and the National Education Standards

[Standards] [Lab 1] [Lab 2] [Lab 3] [Lab 4] [Lab 5]