P18571: Sunspot Radio Telescope III


Project Summary Project Information

The sun emits the light and heat necessary for life on Earth. However, it also emits radiation outside the visible spectrum as well as energetic particles. These emissions can impact satellites and other man-made instruments, causing momentary failure or destruction, and even electrical blackouts. Some solar events are not typically viewable in the visible spectrum but do emit light in the radio spectrum. Because particle emissions take much longer to reach the Earth than RF, a radio telescope provides an early warning about incoming solar weather so that sensitive infrastructure including satellites and power grids can be protected. There is a lack of dedicated radio telescopes in the Northern Continental United States. This hole is to be filled by a new installation in Ionia, New York. A prototype was developed during previous projects but is not currently operational and requires additional features to be useful.

The goals of this project are getting the radio telescope online and operational with a user friendly GUI, subsystems for self-calibration, RF filtering, a visible spectrum feed, and data upload for analysis. The data is to be uploaded to stakeholder’s servers in Zurich. The end product must be remotely operable from RIT, provide accurate data, and be tolerant for environmental exposure, including tolerance of power failure without data loss.

This project is a continuation of the work done by teams P15571 and 17571. The previous teams produced a hardware solution capable of automatically tracking the sun in all seasons. Our work involves improving the reliability of the tracking system, processing collected RF signals to filter noise, adding an intuitive GUI for night-time radio astronomy, implementing data upload and backup solutions, and providing documentation for maintenance and use. At the end of the project term, the solar telescope will be fully functional and installed at the ASRAS site


Project Name
Sunspot Radio Telescope III
Project Number
Project Family
Aerospace Systems and Technology
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Mr. George Slack
Primary Customer
Mr. Martin Pepe
Sponsor (financial support)
ASRAS – Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Science

Team Members

Team at future installation site Ionia NY

Team at future installation site Ionia NY

Member Role Contact
Kyle Tevis EE kmt8639@rit.edu
Yaroslav Tochinski ME yxt5248@rit.edu
Brandon McDonnell CE bxm3364@rit.edu
David Fediaczko EE dlf4798@rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)