Posts By Samuel Morrell

XRT-C Site Visit: 18th November 2018

24 November 2018

The project has been plagued by a number of electrical issues of late. The main problem is that the elevation axis of the motor drive that positions the dish has been unable point. We’d initially put this down to improper torque being applied to the counterweight. However, the curious part about this is that the…READ MORE

XRT-C Featured in A&G

01 October 2018

We’ve been sat on this for a little while now, so we’re excited to finally be able to share it. Earlier this year I was contacted by the editor of the Royal Astronomical Society magasinze, Astronomy and Geophysics, about writing a feature on radio astronomy and the XRT-C project. Additionally, we wanted to work in…READ MORE

Build Day 8 Video Now Live

05 February 2018

After months of tweaking edits, the video detailing Build Day 8 is now live and available to watch. This was a pivotal day, as it’s the day that the dish was finally mounted to the telescope. If you’d like to read more about the build day you can find a post about it here.  

Cornish Skies in Autumn

04 October 2016

One of the myriad reasons that we opted to build the telescope at Caradon observatory was the possibility of coordinating with the optical telescopes on site and producing simultaneous data in both the visible and radio. Although 21cm emission itself is not effected by the skyglow of nearby civilisation, the optical observatories on the site are. This is…READ MORE

Design and Construction of a Mount for the Feedhorn

15 August 2016

The feed horn holds the instrument placed in front of the dish to capture the reflected and concentrated signals. In theory, due to the parabolic shape of the reflective dish, the signals will converge into a focal point, intensifying it. Past this point however, the signal will diverge and start diminishing. Optimally, we want the…READ MORE

Wind Loading Calculations with a Radio Telescope

20 March 2016

The dish has spent its first winter down at the site and, despite the fact that its not attached to anything, the issue of wind loading has recently come to the forefront of our team meetings. For those not in the know, wind loading is the force imposed on the dish by wind that may…READ MORE

Wiring the Rotor – Part 1

25 February 2016

In our previous post, we discussed our progress with deciding on a theoretically sound signal chain. Before we cain finally achieve first light on this project, there is one more major electronics issue that needs to be tackled. This problem, although far less important than actually getting signal from the feed horn, could be far…READ MORE

Optimising the Signal Chain

31 December 2015

On the afternoon of the 2nd December 2015, Sammy Colburn, a member of the XRT-C science team, and I met up in the lab with one goal in mind: to figure out the optimal arrangement of amplifiers and filters for the signal chain from the dish to the receiver. This is a delicate process that really can…READ MORE

Build Day 5 and 6 – The Motor and the Dish

29 October 2015

On the weekend of the 17th and 18th of October, two groups of people, headed by Freya, went down to Cornwall to make a large push toward completing construction of the radio telescope. On the Saturday, the struts were assembled together into the framework for the dish. The team also put in plenty of hard work…READ MORE

First Light… Kind Of

16 October 2015

Last Thursday, the newly formed science team for the 2015-2016 academic year met in the third year project lab at the University of Exeter to conduct the first proper test of the receiving equipment of the telescope. To test, Dr. Chris Brunt allowed us to use the 3m mesh dish on roof; similar in design to…READ MORE

Computerising XRT-C

18 August 2015

Up until this point, we’ve focused a lot on the engineering and electronics of the telescope. That part of the development process is thankfully thriving. However, we’ve not taken a lot of time to look at the final component of the pipeline; the computer. The plan from the start has been to computerise the telescope….READ MORE

Observing the Solar Eclipse

23 March 2015

Astronomy madness swept the nation last Thursday due to the last solar eclipse visible from the UK until 2026. Our previous head of Outreach and PR, Hannah Wakeford, hosted a special episode of the Science Hour on Xpression FM and organised an amazing viewing event to celebrate the occasion. We couldn’t resist going along. For anyone…READ MORE