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5th of December 2015
Antennas, the Universe and Everything
by Aaron Chippendale (CASS)
Antennas and the Universe

The main graphic shows a first-pass map of the radio sky at 70.625 MHz, which is dominated by our Galaxy. We made this map using the 64 m Parkes Radio Telescope and a new, prototype, self-calibrating receiver. Alex Dunning (CASS) and Keith Bannister (CASS) are leading the development of this new receiver at CSIRO for precision measurements of the red-shifted 21 cm line of neutral hydrogen during the earliest epochs of star and galaxy formation in the first billion years after the Big Bang. The new receiver is unique in that it automatically calibrates away the noise contributions of the LNA, including the component that leaks out the input of the receiver, bounces off the antenna, and then re-enters the receiver.

Antennas and Everything

The smaller images along the top demonstrate antenna applications that affect every-day life and have significant overlap with the tools and techniques of radio astronomy.
  1. Microwave imaging of the human brain, to rapidly triage suspected brain injuries with equipment that is cheaper and more portable than MRI.
  2. Microwave imaging of the human breast for the early detection of breast-cancer tumors;
  3. Robots to climb and make microwave images of the interior of wooden utility poles, replacing expensive manual inspection;
  4. Predicting tsunamis by detecting the preceding drop in tide via Wi-Fi signals that reflect off the sea surface. (Just like sea interferometry developed at Dover Heights.)
  5. Mitigating fading when receiving Wi-Fi signals on a high-speed train from a stationary base station. (Just like delay tracking and fringe-stopping in an aperture synthesis telescope.)

Image Credits: Parkes Radio Telescope (CSIRO), Breast Imaging System (Technical University of Denmark), and Bullet Train (Alok Mishra [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).

Aaron Chippendale presented this work at the 2015 Bolton & Student Symposium.

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