P18571: Sunspot Radio Telescope III
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Customer Interview

Customer Interview Questions

Project Background

- No integration done yet, and reliability of system/subsystems not thoroughly investigated. Individual modules demonstrated to work.
- Zurich gets raw Callisto data, which is accessible to the scientific community (heliophysicists??). ASRAS will keep copies of processed data for its own analysis and development of the noise-reduction techniques. ASRAS records more data than the Callisto minimum, use of extra data TBD
- Two dates, 9/8 for an ASRAS meeting, 9/16 for an open house.
- Meetings are held on the first friday every month.
- Will eventually hold meetings at RIT (Building 8 Gosnell) (What month??)
- MP delivered hardware on 9/7.
- FIT file is Callisto spectrum, OVS file is local spectrum FFT data.
- Right now there are unknown unknowns. Since the systems isn’t integrated yet, it is unclear what issues there might be.
- RIT student logs in, sets operation, telescope runs autonomously 24/7 until told to stop. User role is monitoring and intervention during malfunction
- RF spectrum frequency/amplitude
- Radiation from sun activity can be very damaging to power lines, and effectively melt the coils in transformers, as well as completely shut down satellites.
- See previous question for the first part. This will act as an early warning as the RF emission get to earth several days before the radiation reaches earth.
- This system will also be different from other systems as it will be completely autonomous.
- Aside from tracking the sun, the alternate use would be to detect the next top 40 “brightest” RF emitters in the night sky.
- The radio interference elimination techniques could be propagated to the rest of the Callisto receivers if the results are interesting. Techniques might be marketable to military.
- FUTURE FOLLOWUP Can we license the technology?
- ASRAS, RIT, Zurich are the main stakeholders.
- RIT and U of R may have astronomy students and clubs who use the telescope.
- Other stakeholders include anyone who benefits from operation of satellites and telecom equipment through the use of the data to prevent damage to said equipment.
- RIT will have a remote system to monitor the status of the telescope from a computer in one of the Mirco E computer labs. This will be taken on by volunteers from interested parties, i.e. astronomy students, HAM radio club.
- ASRAS will remain the owner of the hardware and the site at which it is installed.
- Zurich and the rest of eCallisto will benefit from the autonomous design of the system and could leverage its design to upgrade existing telescopes.
- The Callisto network hole in the Northern United States would be filled in with this unit.
- Currently MP privately funds this. Future stewards may be ASRAS or a U of R or RIT astronomy club.
- Pure scientific research

Project Requirements

- Effectively 24/7. Sun tracking during the day, data distribution at night. Also observation of other RF emitting objects at night.
- If the system goes down it’s not a huge deal. Should identify consumable parts to buy spares before they’re needed. Some MP identified include lightning arrestor fuses, UPS battery.
- Reliable, functional telescope.
- Easy to use GUI
- Future
- Has a calibration procedure, but autonomous calibration needs to be implemented.
- Should be able to be triggered automatically by the system as well as manually.
- Four step process:
- Measure noise of the eCallisto receiver using a 50 ohm stub
- Use a dipole antenna to sniff the ambient RF for removal from the data
- Measure the internal noise source (reference amplitude generator)
- Measure noise of antenna - double check with MP what this is
- Once per data cycle is the worst case. Still not clear.
- Theoretically yes, but would be severely limited by slow DSL connection.
- MP is considering setting up an ASRAS backup server.
- Fairly low (kB to MB range) - check with MP for actual number.
- Metal boxes stay outside, and wires will need to be run into an observatory right next to the telescope in order to setup a monitor and keyboard for an observer to use the telescope. Power and data connections would run into the observatory.
- Night observation mode.
- During the day, operation should be fully autonomous.
- During night, show visible night sky and allow user to click on object to target.
- Assume little to none.
- ASRAS members and RIT students
- Probably not.
- No, but that’s currently what is on the test laptop. Operating computer currently uses Windows 7.
- <49 mph wind, unknown snow ice.
- Severe weather mode: go into protective state for snow removal, high speed winds
- Hoping for 5+ years
- As often as someone is there to fix it (can probably assume once a month or so based on ASRAS meeting times)
- For now, MP will maintain the system. He would like to hand it off to a student astronomy club, etc? TBD
- MP/ASRAS/future stewards (U of R? RIT?)
- Should be reliable unless a component fails and need to order replacement.
- If it’s down it’s down.
- Yes.
- Some MP identified include lightning arrestor fuses, UPS battery.
- System components must be installed outside the observatory due to limited space and will be exposed to the elements.

Shade could be created