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Welcome to the Medicina Radiotelescopes Web Site !

 

 

Come visit us at our Visitor Center Marcello Ceccarelli

 

The observatory, located 30 km from Bologna and operated by the INAF (National Institute for Astrophysics) Radioastronomy Institute (IRA), hosts two radiotelescopes : the large Northern Cross (owned by the University of Bologna) and a 32 m parabolic antenna.

The Northern Cross is, currently, composed of two perpendicular arms that are 564 m long (East-West) and 640 m long (North-South) and it has a useable total surface area of 30000 m2. Thanks to this vast area the antenna is capable of detecting very weak radio sources.

The antenna observes "through" a 2.7 MHz wide window, centered at 408 MHz and it has been mainly used to effect high sensitivity sky surveys and, thus, to produce large radio-source catalogues, which have been and are still today of fundamental importance for astronomical research.

Furthermore the "Cross" has been used for pulsars research and for the spectrometric study of interstellar dust (emission line of ionized hydrogen and of ionized carbon). Currently the instrument is being converted and upgraded in order to meet the international SKA (Square Kilometre Array) program requirements. The ultimate goal ia a next generation radiotelescope with a useable total surface area of 1 km2 area. The "Cross", in fact, represents an ideal test ground for SKA technologies and data acquisition systems.

The 32 m parabolic antenna is employed both for single dish observations and for interferometry. In interferometry it works together with the other EVN (European Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network) antennas, installed all over Europe, in order to produce very high resolution images, which are quite useful for detailed radio sources studies. The radiotelescope can receive radio signals within the 1.4 23 GHz range. In single dish, it is mainly used for : H2O and methanol maser spectrometry, monitoring of extragalactic compact sources flux variability, galactic polarimetric surveys, studies of comets, extrasolar planet research, and radar monitoring of Near Earth Objects (in collaboration with the NASA

The astronomical interferometric observations are, also, used for geodynamic studies. The VLBI techniques, in fact, allow measurement of the distance between the various antennas with a millimetric degree of accuracy. It is therefore the most precise way of monitoring and studying the movements of the Earth's crust.

The Medicina observatory is, also, involved in the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) project. The SETI project's goal is to analyze radio signals originating in space in search of an artificial signal, which would act as undeniable proof of the existence of another technologically advanced civilization in the universe. This study, statistically, has very little chance of success, so it is conducted without interfering with the normal astronomical activities. The SETI instrument (SERENDIP IV) works in parallel with the 32 m antenna and automatically analyzes detected signals, 24 hours a day. In this manner, the SETI project can be conducted without requiring active observation time or dedicated personnel.

The Radioastronomy Institute, also, operates another 32 m antenna located in Noto (Sicily), and a third (64 m parabolic) antenna is now under construction near Cagliari (Sardinia).

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Last update : 14 gen 2013

 
 
 
Radiotelescopi di Medicina

Via Fiorentina 3513

I-40059 Medicina (BO)

Tel  +39-051-6965811

Fax +39-051-6965810

 
Istituto di Radioastronomia

Via P. Gobetti 101

40129 Bologna (Italy)

Tel  +39-051-6399385

Fax +39-051-6399431

 
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica

Viale del Parco Mellini 84

00136 Roma (Italy)

Tel  +39-06-355331

Fax +39-06-35343154

 

                                                                          Webmaster 

                                                                                                G. Bianchi