THE HELLENIC RADIOTELESCOPE

 

 

telesk

Photo credit: Κ. Papathanasopoulos

      

A 30 meter radio telescope will be constructed and operated in Greece for the first time, at the southeastern point of Europe at the Thermopile Center of Satellite Communications in the region of Skarfeia, Lokrida.

The ambitious project is the result of the scientific  collaboration between the  scientists in charge, Assistant Professor - Radio Astronomer Nectaria A.B. Gizani, from the  School of Science and Technology (SST) of the Hellenic Open University, and Assistant Professor - Physicist-RF Engineer George P. Veldes, from the Telecommunication Systems & Applications Research Laboratory (TSARL) of the Department of Electronics Engineering of Technological Educational Institute of Sterea Ellada.  

      

The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation  (OTE), has provided  SST/TSARL the necessary infrastructure of the 30-meter telecommunication antenna, which will be transformed to receive radio signals from the Universe.

A Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed between OTE and SST/TSARL so that the Hellenic Center of Radioastronomy will be established with the respective international scientific standards.

The main aims are:

  • Development of the scientific research in the field of Radioastronomy in Greece by providing the professional infrastructure to the Hellenic scientific community.
  • Our radiotelescope will be connected with the European and Global Very Long Baseline Interferometry (EVN and Global VLBI respectively).
  • Acquiring the know-how in the development of radioastronomy equipment and techniques, through the transformation of the telecommunication antenna to a professional radiotelescope able to operate both as (a) a stand alone single dish and also (b) linked in the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (eg. EVN, VLBI).
  • Probing geodetic studies in the earthquake active region of Greece.
  • Participate in SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence ) searches in collaboration with the Break Through Listen Research Laboratory, Department of Astronomy, UC Berkeley

The Center of Satellite Communications at the region of Thermopile will become a professional Center for research and educational activities:  

  • Organizing national and international scientific conferences and workshops as well as educational courses for national and international students.
  • Actions will be taken to disseminate research results to the general public.
  • The popularization and educational activities aim to familiarize students of primary and secondary education with the scientific fields of Radioastronomy (invisible astronomy) and RF technology. All these will act as an inspirational drive for new scientists.
  • Transforming the telecommunications antenna into a professional radiotelescope will inevitably result in new fields of applications which could contribute to the development of the Hellenic Industry.

The pathfinder of the 30-meter dish Project, is currently in progress at the premises of HOU in Perivola in Patras, with the conversion of a 2m satellite dish into a radiotelescope.

In order to fund the conversion of the 30-meter antenna, STHET-EAP in collaboration with EETSE - TEI and CSIRO, ASTRON, Radioastronomy and Break Through Listen Labs - UC Berkeley, IUCAA - Pune, NRCC - DRAO, submitted the research proposal entitled 'PYTHIA' (Progressively Towards Hellenic Invisible Astronomy) under the “Hellenic Foundation for Research & Innovation (HFRI) 1st Call for proposals for research projects for the support of Faculty members and Researchers working in the Greek Universities and Research Centers and the procurement of strategic research equipment.

Dr Nectaria Gizani pointed out: “The construction and operation of the first radio telescope of international standards in Greece will benefit our country in many ways, such as the development of the Hellenic radio astronomy in addition to linking our telescope to the European and Global Very Long Baseline Interferometry and the organization of international and national scientific conferences. Moreover, the scientific academic community will acquire the necessary infrastructure for scientific research and for students’s and pupils’ education, for geodetic studies of the seismological region of Greece and for the development of new fields of applications in RF-technology and the Hellenic industry. The public will experience the amazing invisible side of the Universe at low energies, which cannot be seen with our own eyes. In addition, we expect to inspire and initiate specialized expertise, which will work towards discovery and innovation for the progress of Greece".

Our ambition is to create and provide the academic community of our country with a unique scientific tool that will produce new knowledge and develop innovative technologies. Implementing educational activities to familiarize students with the wonderful invisible world that surrounds us, will be one of our key priorities”, said Dr Giorgos Veldes.