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PICTOR: A free-to-use Radio Telescope

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Hi all!


Over the past few months, I've been working on PICTOR.

PICTOR is an open-source radio telescope that allows anyone to observe the radio sky using its convenient web platform for free. The goal of this effort is to introduce students, educators, astronomers and others to the majesty of the radio sky, promoting radio astronomy education, without the need of building a large and expensive radio telescope by the user.

PICTOR consists of a 1.5-meter parabolic antenna that allows anyone to make continuous and spectral (i.e. hydrogen line) drift-scan observations of the radio sky in the 1300~1700 MHz regime for free.

For more information, please take a look at the Website: https://www.pictortelescope.com/, the GitHub repository: https://github.com/0xCoto/PICTOR and/or the PDF guide that includes some introductory information on radio astronomy as well as instructions on how to use the telescope: https://pictortelescope.com/Observing_the_radio_sky_with_PICTOR.pdf


All feedback is welcome and encouraged! 😃

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Nice webpage and concept. Just a couple of questions, points,

The user is going to need the co ords of the telescope to know when and what it will drift through.

Is the scope going to be Alt Az mounted in order to look at different locations of sky?

Maybe an idea to point users to software ie Stellarium in order to plan a scan request.

I take it you will be carrying out requests manually?




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Hi Carl,


I provide an approximate location (very accurate considering the beam of the telescope) in the PDF guide.

The telescope is not mounted on a motorized mount, but it’s excellent for drift scan observations! 

Users can submit observation requests via the /observe page and it will be automatically taken care of by the raspberry pi in the Faraday cage. Once the observation is finished, the user receives an email with the data of their observation.


All of the above are mentioned in the PDF guide so perhaps further questions might be answered there as well! :)

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PICTOR just surpassed 150 unique users with over 800 observations on the archive! 🥳

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And now PICTOR has surpassed 200+ unique users with over 1000+ observations on the archive!! 🥳

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