Getting Started

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"Thank you so much for visiting our class on Friday! The kids loved it...they thought it was pretty cool to meet a "real" Astronomer! Thanks again, Janine"

Updated October 17, 2011

What You'll Need to Get Started

In this section we give you a list of the things you'll need to get started using the Sky Scan FM Meteor Detector. Here's how to get started.

Cost

Sky Scan is committed to covering as many of the costs as possible. We will provide a free radio, cables, software and assistance. More on costs.

Sign Up

If you are interested in signing up for the project or would like more information directly from our Education Coordinator, go to our Sign Up form.

What You'll Need to Get Started

Once you've signed up for the project here is a guide to the equipment you'll need and some directions on how to go about doing it. Sky Scan staff and volunteers are available to help you with this. Contact us at davec@skyscan.ca.

Antenna 

http://www.skyscan.ca/Antennas.htm 

This would make a great project for schools with a construction lab. For more details, follow the links from this page. You may have a couple of "keeners" in your class who may wish to check out this page for themselves. 

If in-school construction is not an option, at least in the shorter term, we will look towards donated equipment from local amateur radio operators as well as commercial models available. Sky Scan is committed to helping with such acquisitions, including covering at least a portion of the expenses. 

Receiver 

http://www.skyscan.ca/fm_receivers.htm

http://www.skyscan.ca/car_radios.htm

We are leaning towards the car radio option as the more affordable, unless you or a student has a digital receiver kicking around at home which can be used for a few weeks. We have acquired a few car radios from a wrecker for this purpose, and will be providing them at no cost. 

Computer 

You will need at least one dedicated computer (preferably one per class) with sound card for data collection.  We expect that schools will be able to provide their own PC computer for logging data for the project. If this is not possible, we can see about the possibility of finding a second hand computer that could be used for the job. However, our resources are slim and we hope your school can provide the computer.

Speakers would also be useful to have. It would be helpful if this computer is networked to others and has access to the Internet. You will need Internet access for your class but not necessarily from the data computer. As timing of meteor hits is important, the accuracy of the clock on the computer may be an issue. We can provide resources (a time "shim" program) that will compensate for slow or fast clocks. 

We recommend a Pentium computer running Windows, with a hard drive with about 400 Megabytes of free space, 128 Megs of RAM, a sound card, and a school network connection (preferably). Please contact us regarding this before you decide on which computer to use.

Many schools run a program called Deep Freeze that must be deactivated in order to install and run the data collection software the Sky Scan project uses.

Software 

http://radiosky.com/skypipeishere.html

Note this is not our site, but that of the software provider, Jim Sky of Hawaii. We will most likely be using the shareware version of the software in the classroom, which is downloadable from this link. We are talking to Jim Sky about getting a group rate on the Pro version. Cost to schools will be little or nothing.

Cables 

http://www.skyscan.ca/cables.htm

You will need:

coaxial cable to carry signals from the antenna to your receiver.

a patch cord to connect the audio output from the receiver to the sound card of the computer.

if you are using a VCR to do audio recording and video time stamping you will need a few RCA type patch cables

Cost

Sky Scan is committed to covering as many of the costs as possible. We will provide a free radio, cables, software and assistance. The estimated value of this equipment is around $100, made possible by a donation from the Edmonton Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. For more information on the equipment needed to undertake this project, follow this link. Or if you'd like more information fill in the Sign Up form. Signing up does not commit you to anything, just let's us know you are interested and gives us some background to help us understand what resources you may need to carry out the project and how we can contact you.

Sign Up

If you are interested in signing up or having our Education Development Coordinator contact you, please fill out and submit the Sign Up form below. Signing up does not commit you to anything, just let's us know you are interested and gives us some background to help us understand what resources you may need to carry out the project and how to contact you.

To sign up for the Sky Scan Project, please complete the information form below and submit it using the button at the bottom of the form.

About you:

Your first name

Your last name

Your email address

Name of your school

Your phone number

Class information

# of Science 9 classes expected to participate

# of students in each class

Names of all participating science teachers

Computer availability:

Do you have:

- Access to at least one computer per class (preferably one per group)? Yes or No

- Internet access?Yes or No

- Are there other computers networked in the class?Yes or No

- Are in class computers networked to other classes?Yes or No

- PC or Mac computer?

- What type of processor does the computer have (Pentium I, 486, etc)?

- What is the operating system (eg Windows 98, Mac OS7 etc.)?

- Does it have a sound card? Mono or stereo?

- Does it have speakers? Yes or No

- Size of hard drive in Megabytes?

Other considerations:

Location of classroom in school. Which direction does the outside wall of the classroom face (north, south, east, west)?

Classroom is on top, bottom, or middle floor of school?

Does the school have a construction lab which could assist in making antenna/e? Yes or No

Which science textbook will the school be using?

Comments or Questions:

Thank you for completing this form. 

 

Copyright 1999-2015 by Sky Scan, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the 

Edmonton Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Department of Physics (University of Alberta)

and the

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

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