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This Space Manner Builds a DIY Radio Telescope for $ 150 / Boing Boing



David Schneider built his own flashing roof telescope, blank paint thinner, free software-defined radio application, USB receiver, and coaxial cable length. The whole project cost him less than $ 150, and he's already using it to detect galactic hydrogen and monitor the motion of the spiral arms of our Milky Way galaxy. (Using a radio telescope, you search for and measure radio frequency radiation emitted by astronomical objects.) From the IEEE spectrum:

Point to Cygnus and you will get a strong signal from the local Milky Way arm very close to the expected 1420.4-MHz frequency. Point it at Cassiopeia of greater galactic length and you will see the hydrogen line signal shift to 1420.5 MHz – a fine Doppler change indicating that the material emitting these radio waves is moving toward us in a relative sense. With some hunting you may be able to distinguish two or more different signals with different frequencies coming from different spiral arms of the Milky Way.

Don't expect to hear E.T., but if you manage to map the Milky Way that way, it looks strangely empowering. They will be well spent $ 150.

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David Peskowitz

David Peskowitz is the co-editor of Boing Boing. On Instagram he is @pesco.

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