First annual Telescope Tune Up Day !

We had great success at our first Annual Telescope Tune Up day yesterday ! 

We had about 18 people bring in telescopes for cleaning, alignment, and instruction ! 

Thanks to our hardworking volunteers ! 

Ken Kressler

Don Chamberlin

Dave Thompson

Tom Yale 

Thanks to Steve Fentress and Strasenburgh for allowing us to set up in the lobby.

All of our customers were very happy and excited we were able to help them.

Solar Radio Telescope Update – August 2016

Update – August 2016 :

Solar Radio Telescope

The goal of this project is to study the RF signature of Sunspots, as part of the eCallisto global network. We’re going to be filling a big gap in their coverage map as there are no receivers on the east coast. If you’ve been following our activities you already know we’ve demonstrated this project’s ability to autonomously track the Sun regardless of the weather, with NO human intervention,  demonstrated at the RIT Imagine festival last year (photo, right).

This coming school year our plans are getting even bigger, with our sights on full automatic operation of all the functions, including automatic calibration, RFI noise removal and data file transfer to Zurich, SZ.

‘Stay tuned’ for status reports as we become fully operational, with student designed and built modules for a fully working system.     Our expected ‘first light’ is May 2017.

  • Marty Pepe




Please consider volunteering for future ASRAS events.

We are badly in need of some help for the following activities :

Strasenburgh scope on Sat nights !

Star parties ! (contact Jim Seidewand)

Outreach events ! (contact Joe Alteri)

Mowing at Ionia ! (contact Bob McGovern)

Thanks !


Welcome to the new ASRAS website !

Welcome to the new site everybody !

  • Please be patient while we put the finishing touches on our new wordpress website.
  • We do NOT have member log-ins yet. It will take a while to figure out what to make private and public.
  • See something broken ? Feature missing that the original had ? Please let webmaster Joel Schmid know.
  • We are looking for ASRAS web-site contributors ! Please let – you guessed it – webmaster Joel Schmid know if you would like to learn how to put cool astro-stuff on the website !




We are in our third year of active development projects to look at the night sky in the Radio Spectrum and have been able to complete some major accomplishments. This past school year has seen both the University of Rochester (U of R), and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) deliver critical elements to the Solar Radio Spectroscope.

For our educational outreach event, we hosted a Boy Scout troop in Ionia (Pix_1), for a sleep over this last spring and were able to make our Portable Radio Telescope (PBT – itty bitty radio telescope) operational. It’s now completely portable, with battery power for ‘field’ use, with a high resolution turntable (better than 2 degrees angular resolution, Pix_2). Scouts had a great time ‘seeing’ their own body heat giving off RF energy, looking at the RF emissions from the Sun and finding Geosynchronous satellites in Earth orbit.

The Solar Radio Telescope project is coming together nicely. The purpose of this project is to study RF emissions from and ‘Angry’ Sun (visible sunspots, Pix # 3). We are elated that our Solar RT project was selected by RIT’s engineering department’s competition for their senior design activities. A team of seven students (Pix_4) designed phase II for our project to track the Sun in its daily movement. This effort includes customer requirements, animated simulations of the Sun’s movement from summer through winter, the PC, electronic controls, software, servos, and mechanical mounts. The spring semester saw this concept design executed in hardware, built in the RIT model shop, debugged in the lab, and then installed in Ionia! The pinnacle of this effort saw completely autonomous operation of Sun tracking without any human intervention (Pix_5), publically demonstrated at RIT’s Imagine Festival in May 2015 (Pix_6). Additionally, this design ‘puts itself to bed’ at night, knows when to look to the East for sunrise, and has a high wind ‘safe mode position (zenith), and park service (maintenance) position.

If this (above) accomplishment wasn’t enough, work done by the U of R team, allowed us to implement the real horizon in ‘Radio Eyes’ (our RF star data base). And their software control of the Callisto receivers allowed us to complete a RF site survey of the Ionia ‘scope location (Pix_7). Our proof of concept prototype was able to characterize the potential interfering emitters at the Ionia site (Pix_8), and provide actual usable RF Sun emission data. This work has established a new (potentially proprietary) mathematical technique for active noise cancellation of base (fixed location) interfering emitters. To our knowledge, no one in the Radio Telescope and/or eCallisto development community has seen this before.

Our plans for this coming year include expanding the small dome building (adjacent to our installation) enabling a corner of the building to act as an operator/debug station, a high speed internet and AC power connection, batch data transfer to Zurich, and system software integration.


Martin J Pepe

Update 5/28/15 : Radio Jove


Radio Jove                     – Martin J Pepe (

Most people think they have to have a 50 foot dish in the backyard to do any Radio Astronomy. It just ain’t so!! Besides getting on your wife’s short list for casting a large dark shadow over her petunias, with the way things are these days, you might even get a visit or two from ‘Uncle ‘Sam’.

Everyone has seen colorful visual pictures from Hubble of deep space Galaxies. But many don’t realize that deep sky objects have strong RF emissions, as well. Even some objects in our own Solar System give off radio waves in various frequency bands. The Sun and Jupiter are two of those objects in particular.

You may have seen or heard of articles about the ongoing Solar RT project which is a Solar RF Spectrograph to study sunspots, presently being built for the ASRAS astronomy club (site in Ionia, NY). It covers 50 – 890 MHz. This is a senior design project at RIT and it is progressing nicely. Look for a demo at RIT Imagine this May (2015).

Another stout RF emitter is the planet Jupiter (see NASA Radio Jove, below). The radio noise storms of interest can be heard from about 15 MHz up to a practical limit of about 38 MHz, the consensus seems to be that 18 MHz up to about 28 MHz is a good place to listen. Many ‘hams’ have inadvertently heard this, and assumed it was just background noise & hiss (links, below).

The very conditions that cause the ionosphere to get charged and yield good Aurora & ‘DX bounce’ at times, are one’s that ‘shield’ us from hearing these signals. When the aurora is good, the Jupiter signals are usually rather weak, since they can’t penetrate the same strong ionospheric ‘shell’ that surrounds the Earth. Conversely, when the aurora is bad the Radio Jove signals can be good, they can actually complement regular Northern Light observation & Ham Radio operation.

The RF generator of these signals is an interaction of some of Jupiter’s Moons (typically IO), and the planet’s strong magnetic fields. These signals can be directional, and don’t always point at the Earth.

A simple direct conversion receiver and external antenna for the above band(s) can be used to monitor these signals  We’ve been gifted a NASA Radio Jove receiver kit from the Buffalo Astronomy group, and are in search of a high school or college student willing to assemble it under the mentorship of an experienced ham radio operator. Know of someone interested, drop me an email note or give me a call.


For further reading check out some of the following links;

·         Radio Jupiter Central –

·         NASA Radio Jove –

·         SARA Radio Jupiter –

·         Interested?   Martin Pepe (585) 298-0246 (c) or email @