The eXeter Radio Telescope at Caradon: a student project to build a functioning observatory for less than £10,000

Speaker: Dr. Damian Rumble

Date: 29 November 2017
Start Time: 7pm
Venue: BIS HQ, Vauxhall

The eXeter Radio Telescope at Caradon (XRT-C) is a 5 year student project to build a 5 m radio telescope in the South West of England for the purposes of astrophysical observations and outreach. From the outset it was clear this was an ambitious project. A number of professional radio observatories exist across the UK but we wanted to demonstrate that you didn’t need millions of pounds to be a real astronomer. Instead we set out to prove that for less that £10,000 anyone could build and run their own observatory. Our scientific goal was to ‘weigh the Galaxy’ using 21 cm line emission from Hydrogen Gas. The long wavelength of the this radio frequency meant that the telescope was going to have to be big, thus providing an additional engineering challenge to the considerable scientific problem. Never the less, after several years of toil, a plucky team of students based at the University of Exeter joined forces with the Caradon observatory in Liskeard, Cornwall, and together they were able to receive first light from Milky Way.


Dr. Damian Rumble

Damian graduated with Phd in Observation Astrophysics from the University of Exeter in 2016. As part of his research he travelled to Big Island, Hawaii to use the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on the summit of Manu Kea to observe star formation in the Serpens and Aquila constellations. Damian is the former chair of UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS) and whilst at Exeter he founded Space-Exe, a group for students enthusiastic in space science and astronomy, whose primary aim was the building of the eXeter Radio Telescope at Caradon (XRT-C). After graduating Damian changed tracks and now works for Aviva as a Data Scientist, working as part of the customer analytics team.

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