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Infrared /Radiowave observing


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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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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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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