Digital Signal Processing in Radio Astronomy (DSPIRA) is an NSF Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science Site at the West Virginia University Lane Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Check out this short video for a quick introduction to DSPIRA


As explained in the video this program was designed to be provide teachers the training and materials in the field of Radio Astronomy. This acts as a stepping stone for an eclectic journey through science and engineering with the given context in Astronomy. The culmination of this program are lessons and exercises designed by the participating cohort of teachers themselves. These lessons involve all aspects of Radio astronomy from building a radio telescope to its operation:

Telescope Hardware Setup

A horn telescope, which consists of 3 major parts: the antenna, the support stand, and the back-end electronics, is easy to build. The cost is only a few hundred dollars. Click here for detailed instructions for constructing a horn telescope.

Telescope Software Setup

The horn telescope uses digital signal processing (DSP) technology to operate, which requires proper software to use. Click here for computer hardware and software options and detailed instructions for installing.

Basic Telescope Operations

You’ve built a horn telescope. Now what? How do I set it up? How do I take measurements with it? No problem! Click here for detailed instructions for operating a DSPIRA horn telescope, including instructions for doing interferometry with two horns.

Digital Signal Processing

Activities using GnuRadio for digital signal processing.


The radio horn telescope to be used for some basic observation and research that could be done at the high school level, or for enthusiast hobbyists. Click here to access the Astronomy Module, which delves into the topics within astronomy that can be investigated using a horn telescope.

All of the modules are organised in this page:

Lesson Modules

These lessons are in the form of posts tagged according to user confort levels from teachers in schools to afficianados:

User Levels

All of our offerings are here:

All Lessons

If you would like to contribute to your own radio astronomy lessons please email us and use this:

New post

Visit the forums to start a discussion:


Lightwork memo series: Many hands make light work

The LightWork Memo series is an informal series of numbered memoranda on topics related to Citizen Science with Radio Telescopes.

This series is intended to encourage the public in the United States, and throughout the world, to collaborate on the design, construction and operation of Radio Telescopes for the purpose of furthering science, engineering and education. The creation of a memo series is motivated by the success that a focused memo series can have on organizing design and construction of large astronomical facilities.

Lightwork Memos

Request a Radio Telescope kit

If you are an educator or a community organizer enthusiastic about radio astornomy and are slowed down by access to equipment such as SDR dongles and 21cm LNAs you can fill out the following form to request a starter kit. We can ship them to you until supplies last. Please fill within the form your shipment details and your tentative plans or the work you have conducted with your students/community.

Form to Request a Radio telescope