4.6-Meter Radio Telescope

4.6m Radio Telescope (Smiley)

PARI 4.6 Meter Radio Telescope, aka Smiley

PARI’s 4.6m radio telescope is dedicated to an educational program that allows high school teachers and students to use this instrument remotely from the classroom.

The iconic “Smiley” face has greeted thousands of students from classrooms as far away as Australia. Smiley is used to introduce students (and many teachers) to radio astronomy.

The antenna is currently configured for 21 cm (1.42 GHz) neutral hydrogen. Using Smiley to collect data at this frequency, several online labs allow students to map radio sources, study the Doppler Effect and detect radio waves from the galaxy. This hands-on approach to learning has proven to be highly effective and popular among high school students, and Smiley has also been a useful tool for demonstrating remote control and interface software to college students.