Fun & Games Parenting & Children Space Technology

Projects: Build your own Radio Telescope

This is a cool project to do when the kids are a bit older:

The resolution of a telescope’s images depends both on the wavelength at which it operates and on the diameter of its dish. The longer the wavelength, the worse the resolution; and the larger the diameter, the better the resolution. Radio waves have a much longer wavelength than visible light, which is one reason why professional radio telescopes are enormous. Their huge size also helps them to capture the faint radiation from dim and distant objects. Nonetheless, the basic technology behind radio telescopes is quite simple and with some cheap equipment and simple tools, it’s quite easy to build a simple but functional one of your own.

I called my radio telescope design RYSIA (a girl’s name), or RadiowyY Śliczny Instrument Astronomiczny – Polish for ‘beautiful radio astronomy device’. With RYSIA, you can carry out simple observations of objects that radiate brightly in the radio spectrum. This includes the Sun, our own planet, and man-made communications satellites such as Hot Bird, Astra and Sirius.

Science in Schools – How to build your own radio telescope