McMaster students to build a radio telescope

StellarScope, a group of 30+ passionate science and engineering students at McMaster University are participating in the CAN-ARX space challenge, run by the Canadian Space Agency and SEDS-Canada. 

This challenge allows them to develop a project to test in the harsh climates of Northern Quebec, specifically Baie-Saint-Paul, Living Lab Charlevoix, as an analogue to extraterrestrial conditions.  Their project is to create a de-constructible radio telescope and to observe how the harsh climate of another planet will affect observations and its operation.  This will serve as a proof of concept for deploying radio telescopes on larger satellites (such as moons) or even extraterrestrial planets!  While unfeasible currently, deploying observational instruments on extraterrestrial settings may well be what the future holds for astronomy.  For more information, please read on below! 

To start, they plan on observing the 10.7 cm flux from the Sun and 2-22 cm synchrotron emissions from the magnetic fields of gas/ice giants.  Resources permitting, we may also perform observations of the HI line at 21 cm to study the interstellar medium in the solar neighbourhood.  As the telescope is subjected to the elements, they will observe the effects on image resolution, background noise, beam size, and other observational variables.  At the project’s end, their findings will be consolidated into a paper and published. 

They currently have a preliminary CAD model and are exploring design ideas on how to effectively deconstruct the telescope.  These include dovetail connections, a JWST-esque folding pattern of a reflective sheet, and some others. 

If their project interests you, please consider donating to help fund the radio telescope on their goFundMe here: If you also have any experience in radio telescope construction and are interested in offering your mentorship, please contact them at

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