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

d and equipped with a low-noise receiver system, to be used for non-solar research such as detecting unpredictable changes (so-called transient radio sources) in our galaxy and elsewhere in the universe. The 90-foot antennas will also be used as a calibration system for the remaining antennas.

The other antennas, which are 6 feet in diameter, will be the work horses that will constantly monitor the Sun each day. The new array, operating in the frequency range 1-18 GHz, will increase the number of available radio frequencies from 86 to 17,000.

"The key is in the number of frequencies," said Gary. "Images in thousands of narrow frequency channels will allow researchers to decode the flare spectrum, which contains the clues to the physical makeup of flares. The narrow frequency channels also allow us to chop out occasional interference from, say, unwanted cell phone, wireless, or satellite signals."

Gary noted that as low frequencies grow more saturated with such interference, techniques for removing it have become a research topic itself. "Interference is the radio analog of light pollution, which frustrates optical astronomers. Eventually we can look to a time in the not so far future when even the high frequencies will be spoiled," he added. Gary and colleague Gelu Nita, a research professor at NJIT, have published a number of recent articles on the subject of radio frequency interference mitigation.

The current plan is to complete the project in three years. Engineers hired on the project will design the new systems and the antennas will be commercially built. The digital part will be done on the NJIT campus; the analog aspects at OVSA. Gary is very familiar with the system, having constructed several antenna systems himself on the NJIT campus.

"Eventually we hope to see the Owens Valley Solar Array become the blueprint for the development of a $100 million telescope project still in the concept phase known as
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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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