Navigating via Discrete Astronomical Radio Sources: Geolocation Using Fringe Rates

Ali Gaber, R.H. Tillman, R. Michael Buehrer, S. Ellingson

Abstract: In many scenarios, GPS can be used to accurately determine a device’s location. However, there are many other situations where GPS is either unavailable or unreliable. In such cases, backup solutions are needed. In this paper, we explore a new technique to determine the location of devices that does not rely on fixed infrastructure, but instead uses novel signals of opportunity. Specifically, the approach is based on knowledge of the position and sidereal motion of discrete astronomical radio sources. These sources have the advantage of being readily detectable at radio frequencies over a continuous range from HF through SHF, and, unlike satellites, are effectively permanent and cannot be disabled. Using two antennas acting as an interferometer, the correlation of a discrete astronomical radio source (e.g., radio galaxies, supernova remnants, and pulsars) can be calculated. Further, the rate at which phase of this correlation changes (’fringe rate’) can be estimated and used for determining location. Specifically, given a discrete astronomical radio source’s position and the relative geometry of the antennas, we show that one can determine the latitude and longitude of the interferometer from the fringe rate measurements.
Published in: Proceedings of IEEE/ION PLANS 2016
April 11 - 14, 2016
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Savannah, GA
Pages: 403 - 407
Cite this article: Gaber, Ali, Tillman, R.H., Buehrer, R. Michael, Ellingson, S., "Navigating via Discrete Astronomical Radio Sources: Geolocation Using Fringe Rates," Proceedings of IEEE/ION PLANS 2016, Savannah, GA, April 2016, pp. 403-407.
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