Hercules A

Hercules A
Radio-Optical View of the Galaxy Hercules A - Many thanks to: NASA, ESA, S. Baum and C. O'Dea (RIT), R. Perley and W. Cotton (NRAO/AUI/NSF), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The History of the Radio Jove Project

In this time of sequestration of funds for education, I hope the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States of America continues to support this wonderful educational project, for many years to come, as it did in the beginning.

I quote from:


"...Ten Years of Radio Jove – In the Beginning
Richard Flagg & Jim Thieman

In July of 1997 a Jove Program development meeting was held in the ham club building at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The meeting was like old home week for Jim Thieman, Ron Parise, Michael Desch, Leonard Garcia, and Richard Flagg, all formerly associated with the Jupiter radio research program at the University of Florida. At that time the Jove program was an unfunded idea - there was no hardware or software. Many issues were discussed including what frequencies to use and how much a kit might cost. We decided to develop software to allow plotting signal strength on a computer - a radical departure from the ink spewing strip chart recorders in use at the UF Radio Observatory (UFRO). A $100 cap on the cost for the receiver and antenna was set as a goal.

A link was established with Bill Taylor and Bill Pine of the INSPIRE program. This highly successful NASA-affiliated VLF radio program provided the infrastructure for early Jove kit ordering and distribution. Our close relationship with INSPIRE continues under the leadership of Kathleen Franzen.

Over the next several months the receiver design evolved - moving from a traditional superheterodyne architecture to a simple direct conversion receiver. While receiver development was underway in a cramped corner of Flagg's apartment living room in Honolulu, Francisco Reyes, Tom Carr and Wes Greenman developed the antenna in Florida. Ron Parise burned the midnight oil in Silver Spring, Maryland, developing JoveChart. Simultaneously Jim Thieman secured funding for the project as part of the Director's Discretionary Fund at GSFC.

By the following Spring the hardware and software came together in a beta version of the Jove kit, and in July we converged on the annual SARA meeting in Green Bank, West Virginia. Late one cold and foggy night, after connecting the new Jove receiver to the historic Jansky radio telescope antenna, we were rewarded with our first Jupiter signals.

One participant in that nights festivities was Jim Sky who would go on to develop Radio-SkyPipe, Radio Jupiter Pro and the spectrograph viewing program currently used by Jove observers worldwide.

Jim Gass, one of the attendees at the original GSFC meeting, developed and maintains the Jove website and Leonard Garcia implemented and maintains the Jove Data Archive. Thanks to Len's efforts, a historic roadside marker denotes the site of the 1955 discovery of radio emissions from Jupiter. Len has also worked hard to raise public awareness with a traveling radio astronomy display, the Solar System Radio Explorer Kiosk. Chuck Higgins, another one of the Florida crew involved with program development from the beginning, is currently managing distribution of all Jove materials from Middle Tennessee State University. Wes Greenman orders receiver parts and puts the kit materials together – insuring the high quality of the Jove kit.

Over the years the Radio Jove Project has benefited from additional funding from NASA, from the NASA Space Grant organization, and from the American Astronomical Society. The funds enabled development of hardware, software, educator lesson plans, special materials and displays for the disabled, etc. We have also received the benefit of the assistance of many summer students through funding provided by several NASA student programs. We would also like to acknowledge the kind support of the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) in providing funds for several individuals or groups to purchase the Radio Jove kits who otherwise could not afford them.

Measures of Success

The Director's Discretionary Fund support, that enabled the initial start-up of the project, is given to projects considered to have a high risk of failure - but also potentially very useful if success is achieved. Happily, the Radio Jove project has been one of the most successful education and outreach recipients of these funds and is now self-sustaining.

Over the ten years since the first kit was distributed, we are now approaching the distribution of the 1400th kit. The kits will be found mostly in the United States, but more than a third of them have been distributed in countries all around the world. We are especially proud of the stories of inspiration from students who have won science fairs with the project, from museums and science centers that have used them to introduce their audiences to radio astronomy, and from foreign observers who could not afford the kit yet persevered in getting financial and technical assistance to reach their goal..."

The Radio Jove Project was incorporated in 2006, as a Public Benefit Corporation, in the State of Tennessee USA.

I quote from :


"...RADIO JOVE PROJECT, INC was formed on 2006-07-13 in Tennessee.
Universal ID    TN-000525132
Agent Name:     HIGGINS, CHARLES A
Agent Address:     1301 E MAIN ST MTSU BOX 41 MURFREESBORO, TN 37132-0001 USA ..."