The award-winning Exeter Radio Telescope at Caradon (XRT-C) project is an official national project of UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS), based and run primarily by students at the University of Exeter. We are building a 4.5m radio telescope for use as an education and research tool for students across the country. This is a student led project from the very beginning with students working together to plan, procure, construct and operate the final project. Once completed, our first large-scale project involves using the telescope to observe neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way with an aim to weigh our galaxy.
Space:Exe is a University of Exeter society created in 2015 to run XRT-C, as well as several other science and engineering projects. Today the XRT-C executive team and the Space:Exe committee are one and the same.
President & Project Leader
Science Team Leader
Outreach & Publicity Officer
The engineering team has been focusing on three main areas; civil engineering, electrical engineering, and software. Each groups is focusing on the different technical aspects of the project from frame structure and foundations to electrical equipment and analysis.
The finance teams main goal is to find backing for all aspects of the project from site fees, to procurement, and promotion and outreach activities – as well as looking to secure finances for our scientific endeavors after the telescope if built. We have applied for the Exeter Catalyst Public Engagement fund to aid in the run-up campaign and to help in the main cost of the dish. There is also the opportunity to look to industry for funding and sponsorship with different technology companies who specialize in the equipment needed for this project – a line that we are actively pursuing.
Press & Publicity
Press and publicity is about making sure that all the exciting things going on in the project aren’t kept to ourselves, so others can see how we’ve gone about building our telescope. So we’ll be working with all the teams to keep the website and twitter up to date, as well as producing leaflets and posters to support outreach.
This project is not just about the end result and the science we can eventually do but also about how we get there. Over the next year the outreach team will be working with each of our groups to present the run-up campaign taking a look behind-the-scenes of design, logistics and science of XRT-C.
The procurement team have been focusing on the different equipment available in the amateur radio telescope market gaining insight into the potential costs involved. We have also been looking at private companies that specialize in the equipment that will be needed for the project and identifying potential sponsors.
The Science Team is investigating what we can actually observe with XRT-C. We are currently focusing on the 21 cm hydrogen line. By observing this radiation we can probe the structure and motion of the Milky Way, and eventually estimate the mass of the galaxy! This involves a detailed understanding of both the science behind the observations and the technical aspects of measuring this radiation.