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burf2000

Infrared /Radiowave observing

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Hello all

Might be a completely crazy question (I am very new) but can you buy amater equipment to pick up different wave frequency etc like the showed on Stargazing Live (BBC)

Edited by burf2000

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Yes and no.

Yes you can buy amateur radio astronomy equipment, and it's fairly cheap, especially if you're handy with a soldering iron, but what you'll get (unless you're an electronics/software genius) is graphs of stuff rather than pictures of stuff. I happen to like a good graph myself, but they don't do it for everyone.

Check out the radio astronomy section here, or have a look at the British Astronomical Association's radio group page if you're very interested.

Infrared is pretty much out unless you live on top of a mountain in Hawaii or La Palma or similar. It gets blocked out by the atmosphere at normal altitudes.

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Thanks for a great reply. I guessing this is not something that appears on eBay or in maplins. Any links to equipment?

Graphs are cool!

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Hi there, Have a look at this site :-

NASA's Radio JOVE Project: Home Page

There is also the Inpsire Project and SIDS that may take your fancy. They can all be accessed from the Jove site.

Don't be put off by the antenna, mine is stretched along just above the ridge of my house.

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Thats some great information, the Jove link is very interesting.

Do you think antenna fever is as bad as aperture fever?

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Do you think antenna fever is as bad as aperture fever?

Fortunately, only if you want to observe at lower and lower frequencies :)

I guessing this is not something that appears on eBay or in maplins

Well, it's basically just wires and some electronics, so yes -- you can get it all off of ebay and/or maplins :D

Also check out;

Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers

They used to have a nice project for a 408Mhz system based on Yagi's; though I can't see it on their page now...

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Do you think antenna fever is as bad as aperture fever?

Yes, look at this video the aperture is measured in meters :)

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I see that some of low-level video cams (Minitron etc.) may have sensitivity in the NEAR Infra-Red. Cloud penetrating shots of the "dark-side of Venus" seem technically interesting, if not, aesthetically, very startling? :)

Edited by Macavity

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DSLR with clear filter mod can be sensitive up to 1000nm, which covers a good part of near infrared. However, beyond that I don't think I've heard any amateur observing in the short, mid, long wavelength or far infrared.

I remembered reading somewhere that the atmosphere blocks a large section of the infra red spectrum, which is why they need to place those IR telescope in space.

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You need a different detector technology to go beyond 1000nm, and that's prohibitively expensive. The IR equivalent of a CCD chip is about ~100k$ (if you can even get the americans to sell you one). You also need to cool them down, as you don't want your detector/telescope glowing as you're trying to observe!

Mind you, I wonder what you'd get if you stuck a commercial thermal imaging cameras onto a telescope?? They work at about 7-13 microns, which is a clear gap in the Earth's atmosphere. I wonder if they'd be sensitive enough to detect astronomical sources... :)

Anyone happen to have one for their work??

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They work at about 7-13 microns, which is a clear gap in the Earth's atmosphere. I wonder if they'd be sensitive enough to detect astronomical sources... :)

Anyone happen to have one for their work??

How would that work? I am playing around with an IR sensor and you obviously can't put it behind a glass window or it just reads the temperature of the window...so how would you connect one of those things up o read astronomical sources?

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How would that work? I am playing around with an IR sensor and you obviously can't put it behind a glass window or it just reads the temperature of the window...so how would you connect one of those things up o read astronomical sources?

Yeah good point, you couldn't use a refractor. Normal glasses are opaque at those wavelengths, so as you say -- you'll just measure the temperature of the glass. (edit: you do get special glasses, usually crystals, which are transparent in the IR).

You'd have to use a reflector. Aluminum is ~98% reflective in the mid-IR, so you'd only see ~2% of it's thermal emissivity. I'm not quite sure what the standard protective over-coatings would do though...

Edited by FraserClarke

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Cool the optics with liquid helium. If that's too hard to find, cool it with liquid nitrogen. It would be fun even if it does nothing to reduce the thermal emissivity. :icon_eek:

I love cryogenic gases

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I really cant find any products to buy randomly except the one list above. I guessing that 99% of amateur radio telescopes are home made.

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