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result of first astronomy lab: calculated my latitude and longitude from alt-az of geostationary satellites which i found with a radio telescope. i didn't get too far!

it was a big effort in case you're wondering, lol.

so, was assigned to a very simple radio telescope. it's like a normal dish but it picks up electromagnetic radiation.

basically, what this thing does is show the frequency on a little power meter. you move this thing up and down and rotate it around, and when it finds something, it goes bzzzz! at that point you write down altitude and azimuth of the point and there you go.

i found about 6 satellites and named them thanks to a list i had been given. i also found the sun (difficult, since it was very cloudy :P) and wrote down its position and the time cos apparently i'll need that next time.

then i plotted a graph of altitude against azimuth, and used it to determine the altitude of the clarke belt (where all geostationary satellites are) at an az of 180°.
with a formula, using the altitude of the clarke belt, i found our latitude!

then i did the same thing with longitude against az and from this i estimated the longitude a satellite would have if it was on my meridian (i.e. az 180°). = longitude of the observatory where i was.

my result was 36.9° N, 6°W... which is in scotland lol. as you can see from the map. granted it wasn't very spot on, but we couldn't be very precise with this kind of measurement. i'm very proud of myself though :P and it was quite a cool experience. nothing like those boring physics labs!


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April 2010

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