astronomy outreach at ign yebes observatory: spider

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Description of the Small Parabollic Instrument for Demonstration and Education of Research (SPIDER).


  • Phone: (+34) 949290311 Fax: (+34) 949290063

    Cerro de la Palera s/n 19141 - Yebes Guadalajara Spain

    Phone: (+34) 949290311 Fax: (+34) 949290063 Email:


    The Center for Technological Developments (CDT) is a

    branch of the National Geographic Institute of Spain. The

    new Radio Telescope is opened for the scientific

    community interested in Radio Astronomy.

    The goal of SPIDER is to provide the opportunity for students

    and visitors to operate a real radio telescope, in the

    environment of the Yebes observatory, as the 40 meter dish is

    not accessible to them. The instrument can be operated

    remotely via internet. Many of the applications are still to be

    designed, in coordination with other EVN observatories

    which are part of the network of Visitor Centres (VC-Net)

    sponsored by the EC FP7 project RadioNet.

    Services Yebes Technological Development Center

    Centro de Desarrollos Tecnolgicos de Yebes

    Instituto Geogrfico Nacional (Spain)

    Yebes Technological Development Center

    SPIDER Main SpecificationsSPIDER Main SpecificationsSPIDER Main SpecificationsSPIDER Main Specifications

    DiameterDiameterDiameterDiameter 2.3m

    Angular resolutionAngular resolutionAngular resolutionAngular resolution 7deg @ 1420MHz

    Rx BandwidthRx BandwidthRx BandwidthRx Bandwidth 2.4MHz

    Rx Frequency channelsRx Frequency channelsRx Frequency channelsRx Frequency channels 256

    Can be used remotelyCan be used remotelyCan be used remotelyCan be used remotely

  • SPIDER (Small Parabolic Instrument for Demonstration,

    Education, and Research) is one of the outreach activities

    performed st Yebes Observatory in Guadalajara. Built by the

    Swedish company Are Elektronik following the principles of

    the SALSA instrument developed by Onsala Space

    Observatory, SPIDER is a fully operational 2.3 meters radio

    telescope equipped with an L-band (21cm 1420MHz)

    receiver and a spectrograph (352 channel correlator, 2.4MHz

    total bandwidth). The beam width is 7 degrees. A low noise

    preamplifier is mounted at the antenna focus and a coax cable

    feeds the signal to a cabinet which contains the receiver,

    power supplies and a modem. In the antenna vertex a small

    dipole antenna is installed for calibration purposes. This radio

    telescope is ideal for observing hydrogen in our galaxy, the

    Milky Way. Radio observations are not affected by the

    interstellar dust so it is possible to study the galaxy structure.

    The main aim is to map the spiral arms of the Galaxy.



    Hydrogen 21cm line Hydrogen (H) is the most abundant element in the Universe (it is

    also abundant in our Galaxy). When a hyperfine transition occurs

    the atomic Hydrogen falls to the ground state and it emits energy

    in the form of electromagnetic radiation with a frequency of

    1420MHz (=21cm).

    This spin flips probability is once every 10 million years. It

    should be hard to detect but huge amounts of atomic hydrogen in

    the Galaxy makes the 21cm line easy to detect.

    Radio Astronomy Observations

    Observations in the Galactic disk. The purple line is the line of

    sight. Radio lines in the spectrum correspond to spiral arms. They

    are affected by the Doppler effect what gives us information

    about speed of movement and also distance.

    The Earth and the Sun are situated in one of the Spiral arms

    (Orion arm), approximately 25000 light years from the center of

    the Galaxy.

    To obtain the structure of the Milky Way it is necessary to

    observe at different galactic longitudes and, from this observa-

    tions, calculate the distance to clouds of hydrogen.

    Control ComputerControl ComputerControl ComputerControl Computer

    VNC remote access VNC remote access VNC remote access VNC remote access

    Control System and Software The Onsala software Qradio is used for controlling the radio

    telescope. This software communicates with Kstars.


    Milky Way artists viewMilky Way artists viewMilky Way artists viewMilky Way artists view


    Perseus armCygnus arm

    Orion armSunl=270


    Quadrant I Quadrant IV

    Sagittarius armCentaurus arm


    Quadrant IIQuadrant III



    10 kpc = 32 600 light-years


    By means of VNC it is possible

    to access SPIDER remotely.

    Analysis of the observations

    Sample of acquired spectrumSample of acquired spectrumSample of acquired spectrumSample of acquired spectrum


    Parabolic Dish



    Az motor

    El motor