RASDR observes M24 galaxy hydrogen absorption line

The RASDR project reached a new milestone! At the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) 2014 Annual Conference held at the end of June, the team presented several aspects of the project and gained tremendous support from attendees. Many new collaborators joined the project and prototype units were distributed. We now have RASDR units in the U.K., France, and the U.S.!

Spectrum collected by 20m telescope
Spectrum collected by 20m telescope

With special thanks to Sue Ann Heatherly and Frank Ghigo at the U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Green Bank, WV, we hooked up RASDR to the 20m telescope that is part of the Skynet Observation Network. We observed a hydrogen absorption line near the M24 galaxy that has an observable ‘notch’ in the hydrogen spectrum. To the left is what the 20m telescope saw (link), and below what we were able to see with RASDR on a tapped-feed.

RASDR2 (DigiRED+MyriadRF) observing M24 Maser Absorption along with the 20m telescope at NRAO
RASDR2 (DigiRED+MyriadRF) observing M24 Maser Absorption along with the 20m telescope at NRAO

We’ll be writing up this experiment in the next issue of the SARA journal.

The project is gearing up to do a production run of 100+ units. Our manufacturing plan to distribute RASDR as a kit relies on SARA volunteers and a kickstarter-inspired funding approach: SARA is accepting pledges to purchase the kits. When 100+ pledges are collected, they’ll turn into purchase orders and SARA will collect the funds and start the first production cycle. The kits would be sent out in 60-90 days from the start of the production. The kits will have everything you need to assemble RASDR and check correct operation with your systems. There will even be a radio astronomy experiment guide to help you get started in the exciting world of amateur radio astronomy!

For more details, visit the RASDR project webpage or contact the SARA Treasurer to pledge your interest in obtaining a RASDR kit.

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