Arecibo Planetary Radar

Arecibo Observatory Images of an
	  Asteroid

A major component of the upgraded telescope is the installation of a new 1 megawatt 12.6 cm radar system, which has been totally funded by NASA. This instrument will enable the Observatory to detect asteroids over a very much wider radial range than with the old 420 kilowatt system. We anticipate as much as a factor 40 improvement in sensitivity from the Gregorian Upgrade (and in no case less than a factor of 14). Some of this comes from the increase in transmitter power, some from the improvement in the optics of the telescope, and some from the greatly increased zenith angle range with constant sensitivity that the new ground screen bestows.

Available equipment includes a 12.6 cm (2380 MHz) dual-polarization maser receiver with the capability of both complex voltage sampling and a new, high throughput, radar decoder. Sampling has a limit of 10 MHz, while the decoder can operate at up to 20 MHz (7.5m range resolution).

I will try to keep the status of the S-Band radar up to date, but please note the modification dates, as these things tend to get left behind.

Planetary radar images

Here are some recent images of asteroids obtained with the Arecibo Planetary Radar.

Some results from Earlier Obsservation

The following links give some results from previous observations. Most of these are just preliminary images, reduced immediately after the observations, and are not "final" results.

The following data were taken by various observers using the Arecibo Observatory 12.6 cm radar.

See also Steve Ostro and Keith Rosema's Asteroid Radar Research pages.

Ephemerides and Minor Planet Observations

I have a figure showing the observability of asteroids (at Arecibo Observatory) over the first years. A number of wild assumptions were used in making this figure, so take the absolute values with a grain of salt.

We have the IAUCs and MPCs from the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT), and the Minor Planet Center (but only accessible from the observatory; others should contact the Minor Planet Center for subscription information).

Data Acquisition

The data acquisition hardware has been mostly designed and partly built. The software depends on some details of that hardware that have not been finalized. For reference, the documentation for the old CW acquisition software, NURAD is available.

I'm formulating a list of implementation and testing tasks, though these will change with time (and review).

Data Header Formats

I'm working on the header information. I'm not done yet...

And there's the Observing Chacklist.

Data Reduction

Chris De Vries wrote a description of how to reduce planetary radar data, using the 1988 Venus data taken at the Arecibo Observatory as a model. This list consists primarily of manual pages in PostScript®, but is offline at the moment.

Some other radar imaging sites

dD image of Toutatis Steve Ostro and Keith Rosema have an Asteroid page with descriptions and images from historical and possible future asteroid radar observations.

Scott Hudson has a (largely radar-based) asteroid page, including images and models of 4679 Castalia (1989 PB) and 4179 Toutatis.

JPL Imaging Radar (Mostly
	    Space-based)


Arecibo Observatory Logo Return to NAIC Home

Last update: $Date: 1997/11/18 20:17:48 $.

Mike Nolan