This lab makes use of the Haystack telescope to detect the H53alpha line of Hydrogen, Helium, and Carbon in a region of ionized gas and to measure their relative abundances. Students performing this lab should first read this article, which provides a decent introduction to the lab. In addition, an overview of submillimeter and radio astronomy can be found in the following slide show.
The Haystack telescope is actively being used by researchers and technicians. During the first lab period, contact the Haystack personnel below to schedule your observations.
Full Name: Philip Shute
Company: Haystack Observatory
Business: +1 (781) 981-5188
Business 2: +1 (978) 692-4764
Other: +1 (781) 981-5440
For this lab you will be using a linux machine. The linux and Mac OS 10+ (which is based on BSD UNIX) operating systems are those primarily used for astronomy, so it's worthwhile becoming accustom with linux commands. A brief summary of some of the basic commands is provided here. Students are encouraged to inform the instructor of additional commands that may be useful to add to this list.
For this experiment, you will be using the linux machine astronomy4. For security reasons, astronomy4 is the only machine in the lab that Haystack machines will recognize login attempts from. However, note that the data reduction package class, and the directory containing sample and archival data (see below) are present on all four lab machines. Login as student. Obtain the password from the instructor.
The program class will be used to reduce and analyze the data. The class manual can be obtained at this link. You'll have a lot of time before the actual Orion observations are taken, so sample data have been placed in the directory /home/student/radio-lab/sampledata on astronomy4. To access this data, cd to /home/student/radio-lab/sampledata, and follow the instructions in the README file. This will guide you through the reduction of the sample data. Send time playing with this dataset - it will make it easier for you to reduce and analyze the Haystack data once it is obtained.
Note that there is also archival data in the directory /home/student/radio-lab/archive. See the README file for details on the included datasets.
The instructions on how to operate the telescope remotely are provided here. To login to fourier, type:
ssh -X fourier.haystack.mit.edu -l suny-e1
Note that it is very important that you type "-X" and not "-x", or else you will not be able to display the relative telescope control windows on astronomy4.sunysb.edu. Once you are logged in, type
and follow the Haystack instructions from Section 3 of their website (i.e., Start the Umbrella Program). Note that you (or your lab partner) should bring a cellphone on the day of your observations in case you need (and you will) to call Phil Shute for help.
After your observations are done, you will need to reduce your data. The data files will likely be stored in a directory on the Haystack machine such as /local/usr2/spectra. Copy the relevant files to your home directory (e.g. /home/suny-e1/labperiod1data2005 - note that this directory may have to be created), cd to that directory, and run the command GetCLASS (ask the Haystack contact person for the proper syntax). Once the data are converted, you should scp the data from the Haystack machine to astronomy4. There you will use the program class to process the data.
In the unlikely event that you cannot collect your own data, archival data files are available in /home/student/radio-lab/archive. You may also want to analyze these data before you get your own dataset just to get a feel for the steps involved. See the README file for details on the included files.