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$5 million NSF grant will upgrade and expand NJIT radio telescope array
Date:10/6/2010

A $5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to upgrade and expand a set of radio frequency antennas at Owens Valley Solar Array (OVSA) http://www.ovsa.njit.edu/ has been awarded to NJIT. The new facility is expected to help scientists better understand the nature of solar flares which greatly interest government, industry and the military.

"Space weather incidents such as coronal mass ejections and solar flares can cause problems with cell phone reception, GPS systems, power grids and other technologies," said NJIT Distinguished Professor Dale Gary, a world-renowned expert in solar radio physics and instrumentation, who will lead the project. "We hope that by improving radio frequency observations of the Sun we can learn better information and make new discoveries about the nature of these phenomena."

Making images of the Sun at many radio frequencies is the only way to measure the magnetic fields that power flares, and can be done while the solar flare is in progress. "Radio observations can also track solar eruptions longer and at greater distance from the Sun than other ground-based techniques, so researchers can visualize them better," said Gary.

NJIT has operated the California facility in Big Pine under Gary's direction since 1997. "When the expansion of this facility is completed three years from now, it will be the largest of its kind in the US," said Gary.

Recent research by Gary and others included "The Generalized Spectral Kurtosis Estimator," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 406L, 60 (2010) and "A Wideband Spectrometer with RFI Detection," Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 122, 560 (2010).

The three-year grant will more than double the size of the existing telescope array from 7 to 15 radio antennas. Two antennas, 90 feet in diameter and 100 feet (or 10 stories) tall, will be refurbishe
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Contact: Sheryl Weinstein
sheryl.m.weinstein@njit.edu
973-596-3436
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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