With the end of my second-year at college, I spent the summer attending a camp on Radio Astronomy, called CHERA 2016 (Camp for Hands-on Experience in Radio Astronomy). This has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I feel really grateful to have been a part of it.
CHERA 2016 was organized by a collaboration between the faculty of NCRA Pune and RRI
Bangalore, headed by Prof. Desh (Avinash Deshpande), which took place at RAC (Radio Astronomy Center), Ooty, India. Participants were taught topics from a range of fields including (radio) astronomy, cosmology, statistics, programming (with Python/Anaconda), instrumentation, signal processing etc. relevant/required for collecting and analyzing real astronomical data using the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT), in numerous experiments and demonstrations which are listed below:
1) Slewing across the radio point-source ‘Virgo-A’ to estimate the beam width of ORT;
2) Using known astronomical calibrators to calibrate ORT and to estimate its G/T-Sys value and sensitivity;
3) Learning to operate the ORT and using it to track and gather data from the pulsar B1642-03 ;
4) Estimating the radiation pattern of a half-wave dipole antenna by changing the angle between the transmitter and receiver;
5) Generating a one-dimensional radio profile of the Sun using aperture synthesis;
6) Tracking the Vela pulsar and analyzing the data obtained to find its dynamic
spectrum, dispersion measure, dispersion delay, time period and distance from Earth;
7) Estimating the length of a co-axial cable using a signal generator, oscilloscope and a T-junction, in an open-circuit condition;
8) Observing the Lunar Occultation of a radio source by the moon;
9) Observing Inter Planetary Scintillations;
10) Measuring the correlation of two partially correlated signals.
With this, I will be ready to tackle project SWAN, an idea headed by Prof. Desh, wherein an array network of radio antenna tiles would be distributed to various institutes across India, to perform radio interferometry on a massive scale (in layman terms, that is the equivalent of having an India-sized radio telescope when it comes to resolving power.)
A draft report of the work I did at CHERA 2016 can be found here: