The JOVE Bulletin

small logoThe newsletter of NASA's Radio JOVE Project
"Solar and Planetary Radio Astronomy for Schools"

December 2007 ISSUE - Leonard N. Garcia (QSS Group, Inc.), Editor

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Email Radio JOVE at: rj-project at listserv dot gsfc dot nasa dot gov

The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Radio JOVE, or NASA.

mosaic of photos from issue


  1. Better Jupiter Observing Ahead after a Miserable Minimum
  2. 1000th Radio JOVE Kit Celebrated
  3. Live RadioJOVE Data at www.DeerfieldAstronomy.Net
  4. To Bin or not to Bin
  5. Opening of a New Antenna System at the Agawa Observatory in Japan
  6. The Internet Solar Radio Observatory (ISRO)
  7. Dedication of the Lanihuli Observatory
  8. Useful websites for Radio JOVE
  9. Radio JOVE at a Glance

Better Jupiter Observing Ahead after a Miserable Minimum
by Richard Flagg,(Windward Community College Radio Observatory (WCCRO), HI, USA)

The next Jupiter radio observing season begins in February 2008. Get those RJ radio telescopes ready! The emission probability should be better this coming year than it has been for the last three years.

In the last Jove Bulletin (June 2007) we looked briefly at the effect of De (the Jovicentric declination of the Earth) on emission probability and learned that the lower De, the lower the probability of Jupiter storms. This year we are climbing rapidly toward more positive values of De which means that over the next several years the probability of good Jupiter storms will be increasing.

The increasing value of De over the next few years mean your chances of picking up Jupiter radio storms will keep getting better.

What about our other celestial friend, the Sun?

The next solar cycle will be here soon along with more solar radio bursts.

The probability of receiving solar bursts is directly linked to the current sunspot number. Guess what? We are currently very close to the minimum of the sunspot cycle. The beautiful graphic above shows this dismal dip.

But take heart fellow observers… we are well on our way to happy values of De and the slow slide to solar sorrow will soon be followed by a rapid return to brighter days. The future will be filled with exciting Jupiter noise storms and solar bursts. So polish up that Jove equipment — the good times, they are a-comin'.

1000th Radio JOVE Kit Celebrated
by Chuck Higgins,(Middle Tennessee State University, TN, USA)

The Radio JOVE Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has been distributing radio astronomy kits as part of its education goals for 10 years. On July 19, 2007 Radio JOVE celebrated the delivery of the 1000th RJ 1.1 Radio Telescope Kit. The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute's (PARI) bought 30 kits for 2007 Space Science Lab workshop for student participants. The kids learned to build and use the Radio JOVE kits, as well as other radio astronomy telescopes on the site.

The 26-meter radio dish at PARI with the Radio JOVE antenna setup in the lower left of the image.
Christi Whitworth of PARI helps a student build his receiver.

Mike Youngdeer, a high school student from Cherokee, NC in the program was the recipient of the 1000th kit which he built and tested as part of the workshop. RJ Project Team Members Dr. Jim Thieman and Dr. Chuck Higgins were on hand and presented Mike with the book "Listening to Jupiter" by Dick Flagg, free Radio-skypipe software from Jim Sky, and NASA posters and pins. Way to go Michael. Thanks to all the folks at PARI for making Radio JOVE a big part of their education program. Thanks to all who have participated in the Radio JOVE program for the last 10 years; we hope to continue to create, educate, and inspire the community with another 1000 kits. 2017 here we come!

Michael Castelaz, Don Cline, Chuck Higgins, Beth Harris, Christi Whitworth, and Jim Thieman pose with the 1000th kit recipient Michael Youngdeer.

Live RadioJOVE Data at www.DeerfieldAstronomy.Net
by Todd Simpson, (Miami Valley Astronomical Society, OH, USA)

My adventure into the world of Radio JOVE began in the summer of 2006 while attending the Green Bank Star Quest III star party in West Virginia. During that event I was fortunate enough to attend a radio astronomy presentation by Dr. Jim Thieman of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. After the presentation, the way I thought about astronomy would never be the same.

Before the Green Bank star party, I had always been a visual amateur astronomer. Like many other astronomers, I knew that the light we see is actually a specific range of radio waves but I had never considered observing radio waves beyond the visual spectrum. That all changed after listening to Dr. Thieman's Radio JOVE lecture. Also having a background in computers and an amateur radio license I realized my various technical interests could be combined and utilized to discover a whole new way of looking at the heavens via radio astronomy.

In the Fall of 2006, I procured my 20.1 MHz JOVE receiver kit on Astromart from a person that just never got around to building it once it was purchased. I quickly assembled the receiver, constructed my dipole antennas and reconfigured an old PC to run the Radio SkyPipe program. After a few "tweaks", my station was up and running. It has been up since last December, collecting data 24/7.

Photo of Todd Simpson with his equipment.

A few weeks ago it was time to do a little additional "tinkering" in order to publish the data charts on my web site. I started by implementing the Radio SkyPipe FTP Upload Manager on the Radio JOVE data collection computer. I then modified an example presentation template provided within SkyPipe Pro to achieve my final web page design (see screenshot). It was nice to know that the webpage template can contain any valid HTML coding and also included special tags that the Upload Manager uses to control various aspects of the chart updates, for example, the time the chart was started. After some simple configuration and testing I now have an area on my web site that displays updated charts from my Radio JOVE station every 10 minutes.

Diagram of the Station Setup
Screenshot of Deerfield Astronomy Webpage

Many thanks go to all who have made the Radio JOVE Project possible. I'd like to personally thank them for inviting me to share my progress. The radio astronomy knowledge and experience I've gained over the last 18 months has taken me into a whole new realm of astronomy. I plan to continue this journey for a very long time.

Clear Skies,

Todd Simpson
RadioJOVE Station KC8HUA

To see my real-time RadioJOVE Daily Charts online, visit the link below:

My RadioJOVE station assembly process and photos are exhibited on our club's, Miami Valley Astronomical Society (MVAS), web site discussion board at:

Information about the Green Bank Star Quest is available at:

To Bin or not to Bin
by Dave Thomas, (Lynchburg, VA, USA)

While reading the June issue of The Jove Bulletin I came across the article: "The Perfect Storm" by Richard Flagg. The article related the story of the Io-A - Io-C radio storm that happened on May 21, 2007 between the hours of 0440 to 0746 UT.

I had recorded Skypipe charts that included the times that both storms were to appear. However, I had to put up with the local power line buzz and static crashes that were making reception of the Jupiter storms very difficult. I resigned myself to the fact that I was not able to record the Jupiter noise storms because of the noisy conditions. Upon reading the "Perfect Storm" article I decided to re-examine the Skypipe charts I had recorded that morning.

Figure 1. A Skypipe chart of a Jupiter Io-A storm recorded May 21, 2007 under noisy conditions.
Figure 2. A Skypipe chart of a Jupiter Io-C storm recorded May 21, 2007 under noisy conditions.

I ran the charts, and, using the averaging tool in Skypipe, I was able to bring out the radio bursts that were hiding in the noise. The averaging tool is accessed by left clicking "Tools" on the menu bar, and then left clicking the "Smooth by Averaging" on the drop down menu and specifying the bin width for averaging, and left clicking "OK". The bin width has a default setting of 10 but can be changed by typing in the desired bin width. I used the default of 10 in the averaging tool and the bursts stood out from the noise. I ran the averaging tool using a bin width of 50 and that cleared the charts up even more.

Figure 3. The same data as Figure 1 but using the averaging tool and a bin width of 10.
Figure 4. The same data as Figure 1 but using the averaging tool and a bin width of 50.
Figure 5. The same data as Figure 2 but using the averaging tool and a bin width of 10.
Figure 7. The same data as Figure 2 but using the averaging tool and a bin width of 50.

By using the averaging tool in Skypipe I was able to bring out detail in the charts that I had recorded that may have been missed without the binning tool available in Skypipe.

So, re-examine those old charts you may find something interesting hidden in them. Remember, pulsars were discovered because of a bit of "Scruff" on a chart recorder.

Opening of a New Antenna System at the Agawa Observatory in Japan
by Kazumasa Imai,(Kochi National College of Technology, Japan)

On October 27, 2007, we held a special event to celebrate the opening of our new Jupiter radio antenna system at the Agawa Observatory ( in Japan. About 80 people joined this event. Dr. Jim Thieman, manager of the Radio JOVE project, kindly sent a video message of special congratulations on our opening ceremony.

This antenna system consits of two crossed log-periodic antennas. The observing frequency range is from 18 to 36 MHz. This radio telescope will bring many new opportunities for research in radio astronomy to Japan and it will be an addition to the global network of Radio JOVE telescopes.

New antenna system of Agawa Jupiter Radio Observatory. Kazumasa Imai (left) and Toshimitsu Ohno (right), Superintendent of schools in Niyodogawa town, Kochi, Japan.

The Internet Solar Radio Observatory (ISRO)
by Masafumi Imai,(Kochi National College of Technology, Japan)

Have you ever measured the Sun's temperature? We launched the Internet Solar Radio Observatory (ISRO, to measure it by receiving solar radio waves in the 12 GHz band. This radio telescope can be controlled real time over the Internet. You can use it for 7 minutes at a time. To try it login with the guest account and password (guest, guest) at the URL:

The steps of the procedure to measure the Sun's surface temperature are given at the URL:


The 12 GHz antenna array of the Internet Solar Radio Observatory (ISRO)
The explanation of the control panel of ISRO.

Dedication of the Lanihuli Observatory
by Richard Flagg,(Windward Community College Radio Observatory (WCCRO), HI, USA)

On Friday October 12, 2007 the Lanihuli Observatory, located on the Windward Community College campus of the University of Hawaii was officially opened. Dedication ceremonies, including a blessing of the facility by Kelikokauaikekai Hoe attracted many educators and state officials. Dr. Joseph Ciotti, director of the facility, is also the author of the popular educational CD entitled "A Visual Primer to Radio JOVE".

Many visitors gathered to participate in the dedication ceremony for the Lanihuli Observatory.

In addition to housing optical telescopes and a weather satellite tracking station the observatory is home to WCCRO, the Windward Community College Radio Observatory. WCCRO streams Jove SkyPipe, radio spectrograph data, and audio over the Internet on a continuous basis. The radio facility has been developed with funding and equipment provided by NASA and WCC.

Useful websites for Radio JOVE

Radio JOVE at a Glance

The JOVE Bulletin Information

The JOVE Bulletin is published twice a year. It is a free service of the Radio JOVE Project. We hope you will find it of value. Back issues are available on the Radio JOVE Project Web site,

For assistance or information send inquiries to:

Radio JOVE Project
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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, Maryland 20771 USA

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