June Public Meeting

Event Details

  • Date:

Our June meeting is coming up soon.

Where : Beban Park Social Complex, rooms 1/2.

When : June 15th, 7pm.

Members can attend for free, and non-members can attend for free once and are then encouraged to join.

Short presentation : Rick Ulrich – Demonstration of a practical travelling Goto Telescope solution.

Main presentation : Lisa Locke – Radio and Microwave Astronomy – History, Canadian Involvement, and Interesting Tidbits

Radio astronomy started in the early 1930s as an electrical engineering project and it took many years for the optical astronomy community to include it under the gilded Astronomy umbrella. Early experimentalists had a field day with surplus World War II equipment and the increased world-wide collaboration between researchers.  I will explain and guide through this history up to the present, contrasting the new radio astronomy with the classic well-understood optical ideas, highlighting Canada’s significant role in the growing field. Details on current instrumentation projects and observatories will also be presented.

Lisa Shannon Locke (nee Wray) was born in Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada, a region known for dark skies and aurorae.  Spellbound by math and physics, she started a B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in 1997 specializing in antennas and microwave components. During her first year, a poster of the electrical diagram of the 7-element synthesis radio telescope at Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory drawn by Prof. David Routledge led her into a life-long fascination with the intersection of engineering and astronomy.

Co-op jobs during this time included the Canadian Space Agency working on imaging data from the WINDII (Wind Imaging Interferometer) aboard the UARS satellite, and Nortel, Calgary. She worked as a student engineer for the California Institute of Technology on a K-band water vapor radiometer at the Owens Valley millimeter array in 1996. She continued work on water vapor radiometers at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Green Bank, WV on a 86-GHz tipping radiometer and the prime-focus L-band receiver for the Green Bank Telescope.

Moving to South Africa allowed her to complete a M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering in 2001 from the Radar Remote Sensing Group at the University of Cape Town with a thesis on Synthetic Aperture Radar Image Simulator for Interferometry. For five years she was a microwave engineer in the front-end receiver group at the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center’s Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. In 2005 she joined the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, NM helping upgrade cryogenic receiver front-ends for the expanded very large array (EVLA).

She started a PhD degree in electrical engineering at the University of Victoria, BC, Canada, advised by Prof. Dr. Jens Bornemann of and the late Dr. Stéphane Claude at Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO), Victoria, BC. Her thesis investigated the design and construction of a K-band (18 – 26 GHz) coherent 5×5 phased array feed for use on large radio astronomy reflectors.

She is currently employed at DAO and leads a multi-disciplinary project to build a S/C-band (2.8 – 5.18 GHz) cryogenic phased array feed receiver system.

June Public Meeting