1.1 Engineering problem
We want to build a radio telescope to find out when solar flares is happening. We want to find out when solar flares are happening because millions of people are using their personal communication devices every minute and solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation and can be intense enough to disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel, causing disruption (BOULDER, 2014). We want to inform people when solar flare occurs and when not to use telecommunication device in case of solar flare. As radio signals travel, they interact with objects and the media in which they travel. As they do this they can be reflected, refracted or diffracted by solar flares, these interactions cause the radio signals to be disrupted sometimes they are disrupted for hours or sometimes days (Ian Poole, 2014). Even though a solar flare can disrupt thousand of telecommunication signals we cannot see it happening through our eyes nor measure how big it is. Specialized scientific instruments are used to detect the radiation signatures emitted during a flare. The radio and optical emissions from flares can be observed with telescopes on the Earth (Hesperia Sept 1). This project aims to build a radio telescope to detect and measure solar flares.
1.2 Engineering goal
To develop a radio telescope to make observations
1.3 Specific requirements
Must be functional
Must be placed outdoors
Must be in use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Must use electricity
Must not be too expensive
Must be recorded in the form of a graph
Must have similar results to NASA
1.4 Alternative solutions
1.4.1 Radio Jove project
The Radio JOVE project is a hands-on inquiry-based educational project that allows students, teachers and the general public to learn about radio astronomy by building their own radio telescope. Participants collaborate with each other through interactions and sharing of data on the network. Students and amateur scientist can get to observe and analyze natural radio emissions of Jupiter, the Sun and our galaxy. However, it is very time consuming, expensive and only available in USA NASA.
1.4.2 INSPIRE project
INSPIRE provides students with online resources; NASA related activities and educational modules; and participation in video teleconferences with the centers.
Opportunities to participate in various experiences. Two workshops are held each year for students. However, it is only available in US NASA.
The Space Weather Monitor program is an education project to build and distribute inexpensive ionospheric monitors to students around the world. The monitors detect solar flares and other ionospheric disturbances. Two versions of the monitor exist - one simple and low-cost, named SID. It is for amateurs as it is simple to build and use. However, it requires some knowledge of the project and electronics and only available in the USA.
1.4.4 Home-made Radio telescope
A home-made Radio telescope is made with our own parts from scratch and it is available locally. The cost is cheap and the learning is at our own pace.
Advantages: Personal telescope and easy to build and carry around. Cheap and available in locally.
1.5 Final Solution
We chose the Home-made Radio telescope as not only will allow us to achieve our project goals, we also will be able to learn many things such as how to build an antenna. It is cheap, easy to make and portable. The parts that we need to buy are all easy to attain as some like the electronic parts, we can order them online while items like the pipes that we need to build the antenna, we can easily walk to a nearby shop to get it.