Lecture: Digital Instrumentation for Radio Astronomy

CalTech speaker to explain how multi-antenna radio telescopes work and why they are so powerful--all are welcome!

Larry LaForge encourages all in our inter-collegiate group to attend this presentation:

Digital Instrumentation for Radio Astronomy

Date:  Friday, November 14, 2014

Time: 1:30pm

Where:  Room 102, Davidson Math and Science Building, The University of Nevada, Reno


Dr Hawkins will describe how digital processing is enabling a new range of instruments at CalTech's Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO). A major instrument at the observatory is the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wavelength Radio Astronomy (CARMA), an array of 23 radio telescopes. CARMA operates as a radio interferometer, where multi-GHz of bandwidth from the multiple receivers is coherently processed to synthesize an equivalent radio telescope with a diameter of over a mile. Interferometric signal processing consists of coherently demodulating the low-noise receiver radio frequency (RF) signals to an intermediate frequency (IF), delay tracking, and cross-correlation (multiplication of receiver pairs and averaging to extract the common radio signal). Recent advances in multi-GHz bandwidth analog-to-digital converters, and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), make it feasible to move the digital signal processing closer to the receiver, minimizing the analog electronics. The talk will present details on interfacing to Hittite's 20GHz clock-rate analog-to-digital converter,
how to get that data onto Altera's latest generation FPGAs, and the digital signal processing performed by the FPGAs. This technology has a wide range of applications, so the material will be of general interest (similar concepts are used in radar and software defined radio). If you have ever wondered where Fast Fourier Transforms and complex value math is used, come along and see an out-of-this-world application (no math required!).


Refreshments will be provided, so, to help us buy just the right amount of goodies, it'd be great if you email your RSVP to: Larry LaForge at Larry.LaForge@The-Right-Stuff.com