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Meteor update

Meteor receiver
The antenna for the meteor receiver CREDIT: Megan
Six months on from starting, and on Wednesday last week we finally got permission to install the antenna for the meteor experiment on the roof. In the background you can see the Lovell telescope. The building is the corner of the control room, and the antenna is the silver-looking T bolted to the brickwork near the roof.

It may not look like much, but it took a lot of effort to put together. The cables run down into the cellar (passing the signal through an amplifier and filter on the way) where I have an old PC set up ready to process the audio signal from a frequency scanner. So far, I'm only missing the audio cable to join up the two halves of the system!

The idea is to detect meteors using the forward scatter technique. This means we use a receiver to listen for echoes caused by radio signals bouncing off the ionised trails left by meteors when they fly through the upper atmosphere. We are listening to a TV signal transmitted from southern Spain, a transmitter we normally can't hear because it is over the horizon. When a meteor causes an ionised trail in the atmosphere, these radio signals bounce off them, like ordinary light from a mirror, and we can pick up the reflected signal.

There are lots of people doing this around the World, some of them you can find on the web. When the audio connection on this sytem is in place, we should have spectra from the system live on the web as well.

Posted by Megan on Saturday 28th Apr 2007 (21:58 UTC) | Add a comment | Permalink

Wild weekend

How's this for a campsite?

Camping on the Crinkle Crags
Camping on the Crinkle Crags (Scafell in the background) CREDIT: Megan

The Lake District is one of my favourite parts of the country, but bank holiday weekends are just mad. Far too many people in such a small space! I went up last Friday and decided that camping on an organised site would be no fun, too many people too close together. So I headed to Great Langdale on the bus and walked up onto the Crinkle Crags. The view was spectacular, and my nearest neighbours were about half a kilometre away (yes, there were other people camping up there!). The only sign of civilisation that I could see from my tent was the outline of Sellafield power station as the Sun went down.

On Saturday I got up at sunrise, cleared the site and was on the move for 8am. I got down to Little Langdale by 10am, then headed up to the ridge along to the Old Man of Coniston. I reached the shelter cairn there by about 1pm where it was as busy as ever, largely with people who had walked up the path from Coniston village. After a bit of lunch I headed down into the village and reached the bus stop just in time to catch a bus back to Windermere.

Great way to spend a weekend!

Posted by Megan on Monday 09th Apr 2007 (20:52 UTC) | Add a comment | Permalink

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