When an electron transitions between energy levels in a neutral hydrogen atom, it emits radiation with a wavelength of 21 cm that can be detected with a radio telescope. A homemade radio telescope was built as part of the Saratoga High School Astronomy Club last fall with the goal of detecting the 21 cm hydrogen line at[masked] MHz. The horn was built using widely available materials such as insulation foam, wood, and a metal can for an overall low cost. A low noise amplifier and band pass filter were used to amplify the signal strength and were connected to a SDR dongle. SDR#, in conjunction with the CFRAD2, was the computer software used to conduct observations of the hydrogen line, and Fast Fourier Transform was performed to collect data. Difficulties in construction and software were encountered during the project, and appropriate changes were made in the process. This project marks a low-cost exploration into amateur radio astronomy and is appropriate for those with limited astronomy experience desiring to learn more through hands-on exploration. All of the high school project members gained a better understanding of the underlying concepts and learned important skills, making this a valuable project for students and educators.
Speakers: Karen Lei, Saratoga High School; Anna Cyumchenko, Saratoga High School; Connor Galvin; Saratoga High School
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