The Well-Rested Astronomer

Florian Merget, Daniel Merget, Sebastian Osterspey

project report

Astronomer are mostly nocturnal, however, as students we have to be alert at school. As we do not want to miss out on astronomical activities, we thought about observations that are possible during the day, e.g. using our school's optical telescope and a satellite dish that can be used as a radio telescope. The sun can be observed easily during the day, but also the moon and Venus can be seen. A webcam that is mounted on the telescope should allow us to observe weaker objects during the day by processing the images using a computer.

Apart from visible light, our atmosphere is also transparent for radio waves. The sun is an easy target for radio observations, but also meteor showers can be detected at radio frequencies as they cause ionization at a height of about 100 km when entering the atmosphere. As ionized air reflects radio waves more effectively, meteors entering the ionosphere should lead to improved radio reception. We aim to record and analyse this effect using a computer.

Our school's computing lab has also allowed us to pursue astronomy using the internet, e.g. remote control of a telescope and finding information. Therefore we have devoted a separate chapter to this topic.

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