CCERA 21cm Sky Map - Marcus Leech (2020 March)


There are a plethora of observing regimes and projects that are routinely used in radio astronomy, but the production of a sky map is a project that is easily accessible to the amateur observer, and produces satisfying results.

Such a map shows the brightness distribution over the sky for a given set of observing wavelengths. In the case of the 21cm hydrogen line wavelength, maps show the distribution of hydrogen over the sky. For amateur observers, such maps generally show the distribution within our own galaxy, since extra-galactic hydrogen is considerably more faint, and significantly red/blue shifted relative to the rest frequency of 1420.40575MHz, due to relative motion between the observer and the target extra-galactic hydrogen.

Marcus has worked in the technology development industry in both software and hardware, since 1979. He spent 19 years at Nortel, including 8 years in the office of the CTO as an advisor on network security standards. He was involved in the IETF for many years, including chairing several working groups, and spent four years as security-area director in that organization. He is the author of several IETF RFCs. Marcus has several patents in the areas of cryptography and network security. He has been involved in small-scale radio astronomy since the late 1980s, and in 2004 began investigating and “evangelizing” Software Defined Radio for use in radio astronomy experiments. His papers on the subject can be found in the proceedings of our sister organization, The Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers. Marcus is a licensed amateur radio operator, with callsign VE3MDL