Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


J:P24.2010 – Engaging Students

April 10, 2010

From radio astronomer Shinji Horiuchi
Reporting from Madrid, Spain

The Jupiter 24 session has been conducted yesterday as scheduled. I joined the PARTNeR observation at MDSCC with Cristina Garcia Miro and PARTNeR staff. A highlight was interaction with local high school students while they operated the DSS61 telescope remotely from their classroom for a couple of hours during the track. This was really a remarkable experience. The activity was covered in local TV news as well as a newspaper which you can see here (but in Spanish, of course).

Today I gave a talk about the project at the Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA), hosted by PARTNeR. All the students and teachers in the classroom for the PARTNeR observation came. I was so impressed with lots of nice questions by the students. I also appreciated the excellent PARTNeR staff (in particular, Juan Angel Vaquerizo and Jesus Santiago Perez from INTA) who arranged for all the events in Madrid to happen. At right is a photo taken after the talk with the students/teachers and PARTNeR staff.


J:P24 Redux

March 30, 2010

File size: 1.81mb

You can’t keep a good science project down.

After the success of last November’s Juputer:Project24 campaign, the radio astronomy team that lead the effort has decided to do it again as part of the month of Astronomy.

Starting on April 8, 2010, the three stations in NASA’s Deep Space Network will once again concentrate their antenna dishes on Jupiter for a second round of observations.

There’s more information on this Jupiter:Project24 Redux to be found here.


GAVRT Success!

December 6, 2009

GAVRT considers this campaign to be a tremendous success.

We had about 12 students and 5 parents come by our Operations Center on Saturday for the kick-off observations, and then 4 classes (two in California, one in Pennsylvania, and one in Hawaii – approximately 80 students total) observed on Monday in our extension of the Jupiter24 campaign.

We also had about 150 unique visitors to our web page which was displaying realtime readouts from our DSS-13 antenna during Jupiter24. We are aware of one newspaper (in Apple Valley, California) and one television station (in Honolulu, Hawaii) which reported on local students participating in Jupiter24.

All of the GAVRT students, parents, and staff thoroughly enjoyed themselves (well…most of the students anyway).

We intend to build upon the momentum of Jupiter24 by having GAVRT students continue making Jupiter observations in the coming year (adding to the scientific value of the Jupiter24 campaign), and we will attempt to coordinate future Jupiter observations with the PARTNeR antenna in Madrid, and the other DSN sites as their time allows.

I would also add that the excitement (and pressure!) of Jupiter24 inspired us to make improvements to our hardware, operating procedures, and on-line tools for students.

Mark Hofstadter, Coordinator for J:P24 at GAVRT


J:P24 is Over & Now the Work Begins!

November 25, 2009

The final data has been collected and the main observation campaign has come to a close, but now the real work of the Jupiter: Project 24 effort begins – seeing what the data will tell us about the ‘king of the planets’.

Ultimately, the project followed Jupiter for over 30 hours and collected excellent data through all three stations in NASA’s Deep Space Network.

For the radio astronomy teams the real work begins, unravelling the data, reviewing the results and submitting their findings for peer review before a final science paper is published.

The J:P24 campaign was designed to both mark the 400 years since Galileo used his telescope to first observe Jupiter and make a valuable contribution to the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA09). It was also an opportunityto highlight the international cooperation that exists in space exploration and radio astronomy. A partnership that goes back over more than 50 years between the United States, Australia and Spain.

J:P24 was also an opportunity to use the internet and show radio astronomy ‘in action’. Through the Twitter page and this website images, data and live commentary were shared with a global audience. Several thousand people followed along, watching each antenna move into position, see data plots appear on their screen and take a look inside some of the operational areas.

This may well have been a first for this type of campaign and highlights the level of ‘active’ interest from the general public for science when it is made accessible.

During IYA09, involving the public and inspiring a new generation of scientists and explorers was a prime goal. The use of students at some of the stations to assist in the collection of the data was another important achievement of the J:P24 campaign.

There is still much to do and the radio astronomers will be busy working on their reports. It is hoped that a final paper will be released before the end of the year at the close of IYA09. Once published, the science paper will also be released through this website – so keep checking back.

J:P24 may be over, but now the real work begins!


Galileo Would Be Amazed!

November 22, 2009

Galileo Avenue at the Canberra DSN station with DSS43

Galileo Galilei would be amazed at what is happening around the Earth today.

The three stations of NASA’s Deep Space Network – located in California, USA; Canberra, Australia; and Madrid, Spain – are working together to perform some very big science. To Galileo, what we are doing may appear to be something akin to magic!

‘Seeing’ Jupiter in a way that he would have perhaps never conceived, the radio astronomers at each station are providing a ‘view’ of the gas giant that nevertheless would inspire him as much as his own first views through his small optical telescope.

Four hundred years ago, that first ‘look’ changed the way we see our universe. We look back at that moment as something historic and his telescopic view quaint by today’s standards.

Maybe 400 years from now, people will look back at the way we followed Jupiter for 24 hours and think that both historic and quaint, then turn their eyes back to the window to watch the cloudtops of Jupiter and its Great Red Spot glide silently past as their spacecraft sails onwards .


J:P24 Campaign Launched

November 21, 2009

Last night the Jupiter: Project 24 campaign was launched in Canberra at the CSIRO’s Discovery Centre.

A warm evening was greeted by an audience of international embassy representatives, academics and members of the public, who heard from radio astronomers Cristina Miro Garcia and Shinji Horiuchi speaking about the project.

Canberra DSN Director, Dr Miriam Baltuck opened proceedings and spoke on the chance meeting with Carlos Aragon, Cultural Attache at the Spanish Embassy who was interested in the Canberra and Madrid stations doing something together to mark the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

This led to the Jupiter: Project 24 campaign being developed and involving all three stations in NASA’s Deep Space Network.

The US Charge de Affair, Dan Clune along with the Spanish Ambassador Carlos Sanchez attended the proceedings. An appreciative audience heard about the importance of the international cooperation which exists in space exploration and radio astronomy and how the Jupiter campaign hopes to learn more about the giant planet.

The talk was followed by some wonderful food and refreshments courtesy of the Spanish Embassy.

Now the real work begins with the tracking of Jupiter.

You can find Shinji’s and Cristina’s talks on the Presentations page.


Welcome to JUPITER: Project 24

November 2, 2009

Join us as the radio antennas of NASA’s Deep Space Network, through its stations in Goldstone, California (thru GAVRT), Madrid, Spain and Canberra, Australia support a 24-hour observation campaign of Jupiter.


Four hundred years ago Galileo Galilei turned his telescope on the planet Jupiter, and his discoveries changed forever the way humanity thinks about the Universe.

To celebrate Galileo’s discoveries, from the 21st of November (see the tracking schedule for full details) we will undertake the Jupiter 24 Project, 24 hours of continuous radio observation of the planet Jupiter using the radio telescopes of NASA’s Deep Space Network, the DSN.  

This is the first time that such a long continuous series of ground-based radio observations of Jupiter at a single frequency has been undertaken in an organised way. The goal of the 24 Jupiter project is to search for possible non-thermal variability from other causes, such as variations in solar activity, and possible changes from a remnant of the big impact spotted by an amateur astronomer near Canberra in July 2009.