SPIDER 300A installed near Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT)
PrimaLuceLab team completed the installation of SPIDER 300A advanced radio telescope near Sardinia Radio Telescope, the wonderful 64 meter diameter single-dish radio telescope located in San Basilio, in southern part of Sardinia (Italy). Operated by INAF Italian National Institute for Astrophysics and ASI Italian Space Agency, SRT is used for radio astronomy and space science with a frequency coverage up to 115 GHz. Now radio astronomers will use also the 3 meter diameter SPIDER 300A for educational purposes, by showing visitors and students how a radio telescope records radio astronomy data and creates spectra, cross-scans or radio maps!
SPIDER 300A radio telescope has been installed near Sardinia Radio Telescope and it is controlled from a nearby control room that allows researchers to remotely operate it also through the internet. In the picture below, Omar Cauz and Filippo Bradaschia (PrimaLuceLab) together with researchers (from left to right) Gian Luigi Deiana, Emilio Molinari, Sergio Poppi, Silvia Casu, Paolo Soletta and Teresa Caria (INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari).
In the control room, a 19″ rack includes receiver, control electronics and power units for the SPIDER 300A radio telescope. In the picture below, from top to bottom, you can see the RCPU-100 control and power unit that provides power to the mount and allows remote control of antenna position, USWIND Ultrasonic Wind Sensor that automatically parks the antenna in stow position if wind exceeds 50 km/h, RoF-SPIDER fiber optic kit for SPIDER radio telescope and H142-One 1420 MHz radio astronomy receiver (50 MHz instantaneous bandwidth radiometer and 1024 channels spectrometer).
After PrimaLuceLab team completed the installation, the SPIDER 300A antenna has been aligned to the sky radio sources and we started training session. We showed all the features of RadioUniversePRO software, the radio astronomy suite we specifically developed to control SPIDER radio telescopes, and we started different acquisitions. It has been great to check with researchers that SPIDER radio telescope control system is similar to the Sardinia Radio Telescope, even if the antenna is A LOT smaller! 🙂
During the training session we also acquired the “first light” of SPIDER 300A radio telescope installed near Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT), by recording two radio maps of the Sun and Cassiopea A that you can see in the picture below. SPIDER 300A is now ready to operate and demonstrate visitors how a radio telescope operates and that they can get very interesting radio astronomy data even with a compact antenna.