Wilton trio determined to build radio telescope

Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope WSRT

© Raimond Spekking / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Three Wilton High School students — Quentin Burns, Jordan Reichgut and Thomas Anastos — are on mission to build a radio telescope.

The trio founded the Astronomical Observation Array (AOA) project and said they plan to use their scientific and technological skills to construct an advanced software-based radio telescope.

The boys, all sophomores, told the Board of Education at its March 13 meeting the telescope would enable them to “monitor and record radio wave emissions from interstellar objects for scientific analysis and academic application.”

The students said $50,000 is needed to complete the telescope, which would consist of:

• Three 10-foot diameter satellite dishes connected to a Funcube Dongle software defined receiver;
• A low-noise amplifier;
• A mixing console;
• An audio monitor;
• A backup recording system;
• Several computers.

Funding for their project comes from sponsors, fund-raisers and donations, the trio said.

“One year ago, we decided to expand the radio telescope project into a bigger endeavor,” said Jordan. “We received substantial funding from The Geek Group and an online fund-raiser on the crowd-funding platform Indiegogo.”

The Geek Group donated $1,500 to the AOA project, as well as a mixer and computers.

The boys said they have also reached out to major corporations like the NFL and ESPN for support.

The boys told the education board that once the project is complete, they would like to place the radio telescope on a building, shed or a mobile location in town.

Quentin, Jordan and Thomas said they hope to create a “large student-based organization that allows future scientists and engineers to explore and expand their interests and skills.”

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