I (Denis Costa) became interested in radio astronomy in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). I found an opportunity to work with the Bordeaux Floirac Observatory and Fabrice Herpin and his team who put their Wurzburg radio telescope online for anyone to use. Since that time I have had my students use this radio telescope to map the Galaxy at 21cm wavelength. It was a great experience. Unfortunately, last year the lab moved and the antenna is no longer available. I searched online for information on how to do radioastronomy with students, that’s when I heard about Radio Jove and I subscribed to the email distribution list. I bought a kit in April, 2016.
In France we have a class entitled “Methods and Experiments for Science” where the teacher can choose the project he or she wishes the class to work on. Because I am an astronomy enthusiast I tried to find astronomy projects that will interest my students. I teach 15 years olds and this year there are two groups of 20 students each. They have all chosen to be in this class even though some of them don’t really understand what the class is about and some tend not to be very curious. However that’s the exception since most of them are very enthusiastic. I work with two math teachers, Eric Petrequin, and Amhed Drif who also share the same interest in astronomy.
We began our work with Radio Jove testing a single dipole. For now our installation is collapsible, we are looking for a site where we can leave the antennas up indefinitely. We will soon begin teaching a bit about the theory of radio astronomy. On the 12-13th of April 2017, we plan on visiting the Nancay radio astronomy observatory.