Event Title

A Measurement Procedure to Optimize Microwave Radiometer Beam Profile

Presenter Information

Talia Wolfson, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Start Date

10-27-2017 6:40 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 7:20 PM

Research Program

Intership at Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Poster Number

56

Abstract

A low-cost radiometer, operating at 11.45 GHz, is used for beam mapping in a Harvard University advanced undergraduate astrophysics lab course to measure the relic radiation from the Big Bang, known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB). To verify and improve upon the radiometer as well as to assess students’ ability to make an accurate and precise instrument, we performed quantitative and qualitative analyses of the effects of different antenna designs on the main beam and sidelobe responses and further refined the process to make archival representations of the beam pattern. By meticulously detailing the methodology of beam mapping, our efforts can be disseminated to other educational institutions so that the CMB detection experiment – which has successfully replicated the Nobel Prize-winning detection of the CMB originally made by Penzias & Wilson (1965) – can be more easily conducted in a classroom setting.

Major

Physics

Project Mentor(s)

James Cornelison, Astronomy, Harvard University
John Kovac, Robert Kimberk and Kirit Karkare, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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Oct 27th, 6:40 PM Oct 27th, 7:20 PM

A Measurement Procedure to Optimize Microwave Radiometer Beam Profile

Science Center, Bent Corridor

A low-cost radiometer, operating at 11.45 GHz, is used for beam mapping in a Harvard University advanced undergraduate astrophysics lab course to measure the relic radiation from the Big Bang, known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB). To verify and improve upon the radiometer as well as to assess students’ ability to make an accurate and precise instrument, we performed quantitative and qualitative analyses of the effects of different antenna designs on the main beam and sidelobe responses and further refined the process to make archival representations of the beam pattern. By meticulously detailing the methodology of beam mapping, our efforts can be disseminated to other educational institutions so that the CMB detection experiment – which has successfully replicated the Nobel Prize-winning detection of the CMB originally made by Penzias & Wilson (1965) – can be more easily conducted in a classroom setting.