MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: Is it possible to intercept Voyager signals with homemade radio telescope?

Date: Tue Nov 13 14:17:17 2001
Posted By: Erika Gibb, Grad student, Physics & Astronomy/Origins of Life, RPI
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 1004945893.As


The Voyager spacecraft are currently 6.1 and 7.7 billion miles from the
Sun, far beyond the orbit of Neptune.  The farther a spacecraft is from
Earth, the weaker the signal that radio telescopes on Earth can pick up. 
Currently, Voyager personnel have to use the 70 meter (>230 feet) Deep
Space Network (DSN) telescopes to collect the data that Voyager continues
to send to Earth.  In fact, the original DSN telescopes were 64 meters but
were expanded to 70 meters to support the Voyager mission in the mid
1980s.  A smaller telescope, such as what an amateur would commonly build,
cannot collect enough of the signal to receive data from either Voyager 1
or 2.

The Voyager home page is

A tutorial about the Deep Space Network can be found at


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