Radio astronomy synthesis imaging arrays are composed of many parabolic reflector antennas. These antennas are designed to be extremely sensitive to detect faint emissions from astronomical sources. Unfortunately, this also makes them susceptible to radio frequency interference (RFI) from man made sources such as orbiting satellites. The radio astronomy research group at Brigham Young University (BYU) is investigating methods to mitigate the effects of RFI in radio astronomy synthesis imaging. Though real-time RFI mitigation has been demonstrated for a large single dish telescope, for synthesis imaging arrays our prior work has consisted solely of algorithm development and computer simulations. To test our algorithms on experimental data we need an image synthesis array at BYU. The primary contribution of this Master's thesis is the design and construction of a working image synthesis array on the roof of the Clyde Building at BYU. This thesis describes the design of the antenna placement for the synthesis array. Antenna placement is the primary factor for determining image quality since the placement dictates the shape of the synthesized beam. Simulations were performed, prior to the array's construction, to predict the quality of images from the array. Another contribution of this thesis is signal processing code to generate correlations of the signals from the antennas. Code was written to calibrate measured data and generate an image from the correlations. Code was also written to steer the antennas and track astronomical phenomena. The performance of the array is evaluated in this thesis. The culmination of this thesis is a radio image of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. This thesis concludes with simulations of an RFI mitigation experiment that can be performed with the new array (pending certain improvements to the array).
College and Department
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Campbell, Jacob L., "The Development of a Small Scale Radio Astronomy Image Synthesis Array for Research in Radio Frequency Interference Mitigation" (2005). Theses and Dissertations. 673.
radio astronomy synthesis imaging, radio frequency interference mitigation