Saturday, June 28, 2008

You Can Do This, Too!

Building a huge radio telescope like Arecibo or the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) takes a great deal of money, and so does operating one. Even if you had the cash, your neighbors (not to mention the local zoning board), might frown on your building even a modest 30-foot-diameter dish antenna in your backyard. However, remember that radio astronomy originated with non-astronomers, and there is still plenty of room in the field for amateurs, including amateurs of modest means. You can see the sky just like an ancient Aztec astronomer. A small but committed group of enthusiasts have formed the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA). Most books for budding astronomers don’t discuss amateur radio astronomy, though it is a fascinating and rewarding subject.

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