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hpr3243 :: Pictor - free and open radio astronomy

Discussion with the people that created the Pictor radio telescope.

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Hosted by Andrew Conway on 2021-01-06 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Tags: science,astronomy,hardware,radio,data.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. | Comments (0)

In this show I talk with Apostolos and Vasilis who I met at FOSDEM 2020 about the Pictor radio telescope which they created and now maintain. Using free and open source software and hardware they have made a radio telescope that anyone can operate via a simple web page and which can return results to you within a minute or two. In fact you'll hear me get excited during the show when I realise this and submit an observation request, the results of which came back immediately and which you can see below.

To date Pictor has performed 3,500 observations from over 700 users from all around the world. Additionally, the PICTOR web platform is now equipped with a 3.2m antenna, which is about 4 times more sensitive than the previous 1.5m antenna, so users can observe the radio sky for free with an even more sensitive instrument.

On top of that, after 204 hours of integration time and over 3 TB of data, they have produced a Northern Sky Hydrogen (HI) Survey produced with the PICTOR Radio Telescope. This effort actually marks the very first radio-image obtained in Greece, shown here:

Pictor all sky images of hydrogen in our galaxy
Pictor all sky images of hydrogen in our galaxy

Here are the results of the observation I performed during the show. The body of the email pictor sent back to me confirms the observation I requested:

Your observation has been carried out by PICTOR successfully!
Observation name: mcnalu first try
Observation datetime: 2020-12-08 12:40:09 (UTC+2)
Center frequency: 1420000000.0 Hz
Bandwidth: 2400000 Hz
Sample rate: 2400000 samples/sec
Number of channels: 2048
Number of bins: 100
Observation duration: 10 sec
Observation ID: 82937104
Your observation's averaged spectrum, dynamic spectrum (waterfall) and Power vs Time plot are attached in this email as an image.

And this is the plot attached to that email:

Graphs showing raw and corrected radio spectra for mcnalu's observation request
Graphs showing raw and corrected radio spectra for mcnalu's observation request

Please do have a go at using Pictor and let us know how you got on by recording an HPR show.


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