Be a radio storm tracker for NASA.

 NASA’s Radio Jove program “helps amateur scientists and students observe and analyze natural radio emissions of Jupiter, the Sun, and our galaxy.”

Build and use your own Decametric Radio Telescope.  Follow Live Observations Online. 

Why study radio waves from Pluto? “Radio waves are generated because the planet has a magnetic field. This magnetic field originates deep in the interior of the planet, and the overall strength of the magnetic field directly affects the type of radio emission emitted by the planet. This helps us with the theory of how the magnetic field is created in the interior, and in determining the composition of the various interior layers.”

Everything you’ll need to get started, make and record observations and draw upon your data can be found on the comprehensive NASA website. There’s even a  Jupiter Radio Emission Prediction Table to help you plan key days and times to capture radio signals. For example, folks like me who live on the East Coast, can use a radio telescope to detect signals from Pluto between February and September several times a month on specific dates, winnowed down to nearest minute. 

One way your data will be used is to see how well the predictions of radio storm probability match the actual occurrence of radio storms. The more observations recorded and shared, the better.

One type of radio signal is called a Jupiter S-Burst and it sounds like “popcorn being cooked.” Check it out.  

PROJECT SNAPSHOT

 Topics:Cosmology, Geology, Space Science,

 Location: At or close to home; indoors.

Level of Difficulty: Pretty technical

Fee: anywhere from $50 to $250 for Radio Telescope kits and parts

Gear: Needs a computer, software and Radio Telescope

Duration: a couple of  hours to assemble Radio Telescope; observations last 5-15 minutes a pop.

Suitable for students with adult supervision. Site includes an extensive lesson plan.