DSES Currently Operating Radio Astronomy Experiments

This page describes our radio astronomy observing programs currently running.  

Plishner Radio Astronomy & Space Science Center

These are the current experiments now in progress at our  radio telescope site in Kiowa County:

60-Foot Dish Antenna:

[October 29, 2017] The 60 foot dish antenna is currently stowed in its service position of 90° elevation (straight up) and 315° azimuth, after work to reinstall and tune the computer for the System 2 dish controller.

Archive of past 60 Foot Antenna Posts:


Jupiter Radio Science Experiment “Radio Jove”:
20 MHz monitoring of Jupiter and its moon Io, using a 2-element phased dipole antenna.

The Jupiter science “Radio Jove” antenna system is a set of two phased dipole antennas. It is used to monitor radio pulses emitted from Jupiter and its moon Io at 20 MHz. These pulses are among the strongest astronomical signals observable. The signals are thought to be generated as volcanic material from Io are spewed into Jupiter’s strong magnetic field.
 The two dipole antenna wires are aligned east-west. The rear dipole antenna is slightly longer than the front one. And the length of the cable feed to the rear antenna is longer by a precisely measured amount. The effect is that the antenna system is more sensitive (has the most gain) to receive from the south. With the current feed lengths, the antenna is most sensitive at an elevation angle of 35 degrees above the horizon. The antenna system was designed by Rich Russel AC0UB, The wire antennas are suspended by four stainless steel pipes, with pulleys and springs. The pipes are placed in concrete bases, and structurally supported by guy ropes. The antenna structure was designed Dave Molter AD0QD.
The computer used to control the Radio Jove experiment. The blue circle represents the full sky. The green oval field is the part of the sky where the antenna system will detect signals. The upper arc going across the sky field is the path of the sun. The arc below that is the path Jupiter takes, and you can see that crosses through the green reception field. The display in the center shows the signal strength with time.

Experiments in Colorado Springs:

430 MHz drift scan

This is similar to the drift scan with the 60 foot dish, but with a multi-element Yagi antenna.  The antenna can be pointed along the meridian, in elevation from horizon to zenith.  The current experiment scans for several days at a particular elevation, starting at 0 degrees elevation, and incrementing each next scan set 10 degrees higher.  Repeating the scan across the same arc of the sky for several days helps separate local noise sources, and increases the effective sensitivity.  The antenna’s current configuration has a beam size of about 30 degrees.  This experiment is being used to help develop observing methods for the 60 foot dish antenna, and to validate mathematical reduction techniques.

Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance Monitor (SID):