LoCo Outreach 

Hello LoCo followers! My name is Michael Busch; I am currently a sophomore at Arizona State University majoring in Astrophysics and Computational Mathematical Sciences. I started working in the Low-Frequency Cosmology (LoCo) Lab in August of 2013 under both Dr. Judd Bowman and (more directly) Dr. Danny Jacobs. The LoCo lab is involved with some awesome radio research, as Nithya described last post. This semester, I am helping Danny identify sources of noise in the power spectrum of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). One of my other regular duties in the lab is aiding in the lab’s education and public outreach department. LoCo participates at a majority of the events hosted by the School of Earth and Space Exploration, including Earth and Space Open Houses and other special events, such as Earth and Space Day and Night of the Open Door.

Night of the Open Door occurred in March, this is the biggest public education and outreach event that Arizona State hosts. All of the colleges and schools in the University host their own events and open their doors to the public for them to see some of the cool research that lab groups and departments are conducting. Planning for this event had been ongoing for many months, and many different groups in the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) participated.

As with many events well-planned and organized—catastrophic weather struck and monsoons doused the ASU Tempe campus.

This was, overall, quite unlucky for the outdoor demonstrations across campus, but dramatically increased the influx of visitors to our building. LoCo had two tables full of demos and information for the public: including one of the dipole antennas used in the MWA, the Octocopter autonomous flying drone, Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) detectives, a giant word search puzzle, and a poster that I made explaining some of the general science behind the MWA. Despite the weather, Night of the Open Door yielded an amazing turnout, and the LoCo table was quite the hit!

The LoCo lab at Night of the Open Door, with the Octocopter on display. From left to right, Michael, Danny, Tom, Jackie, and Nithya.