McWilliams Fellow Kevin Bandura scouts telescope location in Moroccan Desert-Dept of Physics - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

McWilliams Fellow Kevin Bandura scouts telescope location in Moroccan Desert

CMU Physics graduate student and McWilliams Fellow, Kevin Bandura, along with Fermilab engineers Ralph Pasquinelli and Dave McGinnis, a Moroccan team from Al Akhawayn University, and a French team from Saclay and Orsay, traveled to Morocco last month to scout out a location for a proposed 500-1000 MHz radio telescope which will make a 3D map of the universe using radio frequency waves to help astronomers understand "dark energy".

A location free of background from cell phones, radios, and TVs which use the same radio frequency band is required.  The sensitive Fermilab test equipment, which survived Moroccan sand, wind, rain, snow and airports, did detect some cell phone signals, but at a level a million times smaller than what is seen around Fermilab. The team also measured large swaths of the radio frequency spectrum and found no interfering radio signals, which made Morocco’s remote desert one of the quietest of the potential experiment sites scouted, including those in South Africa, Australia and Canada.

For further information, see the article in Fermilab Today.