Hawkesbury Radio Astronomy Observatory

Adventures in Amateur Radio Astronomy

Website of the Hawkesbury Radio Astronomy Observatory (HawkRAO) - located some 60 km NW of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Radio astronomy is the perfect combination of my long-standing interests in radio and astronomy. Even after more than the half-a-century since my first crystal set, radio is still like magic to me.

Add to that the wondrous objects which can be observed in the cosmic realm and perhaps my constant fascination with radio astronomy should be regarded as not so "unusual".

This website (see NOTES below) provides some details of various projects related to radio astronomy engaged in at HawkRAO, including Pulsar observations and HI Line observations. Also - interests and possible future projects are discussed.

The Neutron Star Group is an association of amateur radio astronomers world-wide primarily interested in pulsar detection, as well as fast radio burst (FRBs), Giant Pulses (GPs), Super Giant Pulses (SGPs) and cosmic transients in general.

Main Focus of this Website

Activities at HawkRAO are mainly based on observing the Vela pulsar. Observations began in May, 2017 with daily observations aimed at measuring the slow spin-down of the pulsar. During the more than 5 years of daily observations two glitches of the pulsar have been observed in HawkRAO data.

Glitch #1

After 20 months of daily observations, on the 1st February, 2019 UTC, the HawkRAO system detected a 'glitch' in the Vela Pulsar. It is believed this is the first ever detection of a pulsar glitch by an amateur radio astronomer. Refer to ATel #12466

Glitch #2

After a further 30 months (23rd July, 2021 UTC) a second 'glitch' was detected in HawkRAO observation data. Refer to ATel #14808

Further details of these detections can be found on the 'Pulsar Observations' page.

How it Began...

Some 30-odd years ago I did a small project in radio astronomy which involved interferometry of the Sun.

Due to retirement of the old PCs where data was stored, the only remaining information about this activity is shown below.

A simple result - nonetheless the catalyst for an ongoing fascination with all things cosmic...


  • You may have been re-directed to this Google Site from previously linked website URLs - e.g. NRARAO, NEUTRONSTAR, HAWKRAO. Those websites have been consolidated here to reduce the time and effort required to update and/or add new material. There are some limitations w.r.t. layout and format - but the over-riding advantage is the saving in time required to maintain the scores of pages associated with my radio astronomy activities over the last decade or so.

  • Using first person on a website produces a lot of "I", "me", "my", "mine", etc, which can be a bit cringe-worthy. Accordingly, third-person plural is the usual case in academic writing (even when there is only one author). However, I have seen published single-author papers with "I", "me", "we" and "us" - all in the same paper - showing the problem. HawkRAO is just one person and the grammatical contortions needed to write in third-person are time-consuming and I have decided to write in first-person singular - but to tone down the 'look at me' impression I try and remember to use passive voice - although I usually forget and just write as it flows. As this website is a consolidation of a number of activities conducted over time there will be inconsistencies with regard to person and voice present. There will be an attempt - over time - to identify and correct them - or not.