AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Cold War Spy in the Sky now Provides an Eye on the Cosmos (Abstract)

Volume 47 number 1 (2019)

Ken Steiner
10102 Mountain Apple Drive, Mint Hill, NC 28227; ksteiner30@gmail.com

Abstract

(Abstract only) The 12-meter satellite communications dish at Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) was updated and converted from an electronic spy role to an astronomical radio telescope after being dormant for 20 years. The presentation will compare radio and optical telescopes and look at the cold war mission of this instrument when PARI was formerly a Department of Defense facility (Rosman Station). The story of the update and conversion to a radio telescope, after the dormancy of 20 years, will be illustrated along with the current student involvement at PARI with the newly commissioned instrument. Finally, we will look at the variable star observation on August 21, 2017, to our knowledge the first time a solar eclipse was observed by a large radio telescope.