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What is "Quiet Skies?"
NRAO developed the Quiet Skies Project to introduce your middle/high school students to radio astronomy through an inquiry-based project to measure radio frequency interference in your community.
Radio Frequency Interference, or RFI is the radio equivalent of light pollution. RFI effectively blinds our radio telescopes at certain frequencies, making it impossible to study the universe at those frequencies. Who knows what we're missing!
Can you think of any devices which cause radio pollution? How about your cell-phone, your ipod, even your microwave oven?
Quiet Skies consists of a kit and curriculum that teachers can borrow at no cost. Included in the kits are sensitive Quiet Skies Detectors developed by NRAO scientists and engineers. more...
The Quiet Skies Project was funded by a grant from the NASA IDEAS Program.
The graph above shows the tiny signal the Green Bank Telescope received from the Huygens probe as it descended through the atmosphere of Saturn's moon, Titan in January 2005. The signal sent by the spacecraft was about as strong as a cell phone signal! But Titan was 1.2 billion kilometers away! Radio frequency interference (RFI) jeopardizes our ability to detect such weak signals from space. That is why the search for quiet skies is so important!
Light Pollution-Radio Pollution
This image of North America at night (NASA) illustrates how scarce dark skies are becoming. One goal of Quiet Skies is to make a similar radio image using your students' data!