Chapter 2: Radio Astronomy Fundamentals

6 February 2018
We started on Chapter 2.  Particular websites of interest are:
http://www.nrao.edu/whatisra/history.shtml   (History of radio astronomy)
http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_uni/uni_101bbtest3.html (Discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation)
Click here for the latest satellite results to measure the 3K background radiation

http://www.bigear.org/vol1no1/burnell.htm  (Little Green Men)
http://www-outreach.phy.cam.ac.uk/camphy/pulsars/pulsars_index.htm (Discovery of Pulsars)
http://www.astro.cornell.edu/academics/courses/astro201/psr1913.htm (Indirect detection of gravitational waves)

8 February
We learned about power, spectral power, brightness, brightness distribution, and flux density. Do you recall the units?

13  February
We considered an antenna looking at part of a source brightness distribution and figured out what we would measure.
An antenna is, in most cases, a one-pixel camera.
We went in more detail through the differences and similarities between the convolution integral as a mathematical description of the output of a linear filter and the convolution integral as a mathematical description of what is measured by an antenna when scanning a source. The difference is that the source function is convolved with the mirror image of the beam pattern.

15 February
We looked at different combinations of source brightness distributions and beam patterns.

20 - 22 February

Reading week

27 February
Midterm exam

1 March
We focused on blackbody characteristics, antenna temperature, spectral power and noise.

6 March
We learned how to compute the minimum detectable antenna temperature and flux density. We looked at applications, particularly, we
learned how to determine the surface temperature of a solar system body, like a planet, a moon or an asteroid. We also learned how to
measure the radius of such a body by measuring the antenna temperature.