ASP2020: A Virtual Conference
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The Completely Hackable Amateur Radio Telescope
The Completely Hackable Amateur Radio Telescope (CHART) is an NSF funded project with goals of making radio astronomy accessible to a broad audience and increasing STEM participation among under-represented groups and non-traditional undergraduate. CHART itself is a platform for students and enthusiasts to build a low cost (~$100-200) telescope and learn about a range of topics from astronomy to electronics and data analysis. Undergraduate researchers drive the development of the platform using readily available consumer products ranging from software defined radios to aluminum foil and hot glue. They also write tutorials to help others in the community build their own telescope, troubleshoot, and analyze data. The students have built a working prototype which can detect radio emission from the Milky Way galaxy. They are now fine tuning the initial design, and exploring ways to expand to alternative astronomical targets and enhanced capabilities. The project has plugged into the Research Experience for Non-Traditional Undergraduates (RENTU) program at Arizona State University which focuses on supporting students who come from diverse backgrounds and face barriers to some of the traditional opportunities. In this talk I will describe the CHART project, offer lessons we have learned about running undergraduate research experiences, and how we are building a distributed community of amateur scientists.
Conference Strand: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Social Justice