Saturday, December 8, 2012

STEREO HI2B Comet C/2012 V4

Update - 20121214 - C/2012 V4 has crossed the HI1B imager in images of 20121211. Looks elongated due to is close proximity to the imager and its orbital speed. each HI1B image is a sum of several short duration images.


Currently in STEREO HI2B imager is a comet showing a dynamic streaming tail.  This is due to interactions with the solar wind, standby for more interactions if a CME passes by.
This is Comet C/2012 V4, it has been said that this is a return of a lost comet D/1827 M1 (Pons-Gambart). But this has yet to be officially confirmed.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fun with Geminids Meteors 2012

The Geminds are coming, you may be lucky to have no clouds and be in dark enough skies to visually count them. Or even capture a few images. But if the clouds come you can still hear then and now also capture images of then using these examples of  DIY meteor counters.

Get Processing programing environment from this location. Install it on to your computer. Try some of the examples, it very easy to get started.

The first example is a simple test to see that you can hear and see the audio trace,. You may need to adjust your audio settings to make this work. The programs are trying to listen to the audio line on your PC. Try it without any USB headsets if they are connected. changing the audio mixer settings may help.

Get the text code here for RadMCmin.txt. Copy the text into a new sketch and save. When you have the space weather Radio stream active, run the RADMCmin program , You will see a small window open to display a spectrogram and a signal trace of the signal level. A good meteor will look this..

This one doesn't count or save anything, your challenge would be to make changes to this version to make your own meteor counter.

Yes, here's one I made earlier, this one saves a time stamped screen image of the event and also counts each event. It has a trigger control to set sensitivity, look at the code for all the control keys.

Get the text code here for RadMCpingo.txt ....
You will need to make a small directory tree under the pingo directory, like this...

So when you save a few good images then make a timeline of the events with your favorite image software, like this...  I used ImageJ...

Since you now have a UTC time line of events you could then try to correlate these events to other sources of info like this one, Fireball Network in the USA. The Space weather radio signal is being detected in New Mexico. The fireball network has a few cameras there also.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Computing evolutions

Mark this point in time as a turning point in computer evolution. Look at these links...

These Adapteva guys have achieved thumb nail sized parallel processing chips with 16, 64, and soon 1024 CPU on board. Add one to your Mobile or add a few to your standard computer. I want one now, but the OS and generalised software is yet to catch up. Expect full desktop, laptop, and tablets to be using these in the next two years or sooner... check out the cost/performance ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

20121114 Eclipse from Melbourne

Eclipse day, blue Sky's here in Melbourne...

The car had chucked a wobbly, the hot water system also chucked a wobbly, so unable to go north with the crowds. So, used the solar viewer I had made for the Venus transit.
Missed Totality by this much.....Third-ality.... some sun spots

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Comet 168P via Itelescope T5

This is a recent view of Comet 168P via Itelescope T5, using a R-filter and 45sec frames.
I am not sure what the little flash is about. It is part of the raw image data, and still visible in calibrated images on the right hand side. I don't think it is part of the comet. Could be a cosmic hit on the sensor or perhaps a micro meteor burst? or a strange internal reflection?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fun with Radio Meteors

Update -20121116- New Features in my software.
Well, The  dynamic level setting, was to complicated and unnecessary. The better way to detect events that helps with event visualisation is more sensitive. Even the small ones can be counted .
This has also simplified the interface controls.

A simpler interface
A collection of shapes and sizes
 Update -20121114- New Features in my software.
The interface now has dynamic level setting so that only high level events are triggered. Found a better way to detect events, helps with event visualisation . Added a Pingo Meter to the right hand side. ...


Update -20121112- New Features in my software.
The interface now has dynamic level setting so that only high level events are triggered. Also added a colourgram counter. A few more features in mind....

Update -20121025 - Mostly small and a few large meteors
Add caption

Update 20121023 -  If you don't want to do the programing with my little script.
Then this is the software that the big guys are using , ARGO can be found here
It works with the Spaceweather audio stream just as mine does. Have fun......

UPDate: 20121022 - While watching the Audio trace from Space Weather Radio, this large burst happened by. Not sure what type of burst this was, usually they are spikes.
Large dispersed meteor trail....
What Roswell Radio saw......Image rights to Roswell Meteor
Original post -

Remember my  post "Fun With Geminids 2010". It was a bit complicated to get working.
I have been using software lately, lots of fun. There are a few examples of how to show an audio spectra gram in real time.

Me whistling...
 With this little gem of code,  LiveSpectrogram -  Takes successive FFTs and renders them onto the screen as gray scale, scrolling left.  From Dan Ellis 2010-01-15.

 I wrapped a simple interface and triggered image saver around it.

I have it running now, but the big meteors just don't want to happen, so here's a few I have captured during testing.

Seven meteors across 1 hour...

A medium size Meteor ..
Now, it seems to work only if you have your mic line on or a headset mic on.But, if you now go to  and
turn on the  audio stream.
It will trigger on the larger Meteors, if you adjust the sensitivity correctly.

A larger longer Meteor trace....
Just beware it will create a lot of images if the sensitivity is to low.
And if you make a lot of noise, whistle or speak, it will trigger also.

You will need to be vwary vwary quite when hunting radio meteors....

How to make for your self -  Download software, load the following text  into a new sketch and save. Make a data directory under this sketch folder. Then run it.
The images appear in the sketch folder.

Have fun...... try to catch a few ..... Orionids Oct 21-22, 2012  
.......hat tip to

 ---------------------\/\/\/\/\/\/ cut here \/\/\/\/\/\/ -----------------
 *** Radio Meteor Counter **** agw 20121021 ****
 *** modified from
 * LiveSpectrogram
 * Takes successive FFTs and renders them onto the screen as grayscale, scrolling left.
 * Dan Ellis 2010-01-15

import ddf.minim.analysis.*;
import ddf.minim.*;

Minim minim;
AudioInput in;
FFT fft;
int colmax = 400;
int rowmax = 256;
int[][] sgram = new int[rowmax][colmax];
int[][] sgramb = new int[rowmax][colmax+1];
int col;
int leftedge;
int count = 0 ;
int sgwt = 0 ;
int sens = 155;
int lvl = 0;
int lvlm = 0;
int trig = 99 ;

String  mode = "AUTO";
PFont fontA = createFont("Verdana", 12);

void setup()
  size(colmax+ 150, rowmax+125, P3D);
 // colorMode(RGB, 255);
 fontA = loadFont("CourierNew-12.vlw");

  textFont(fontA, 12);
   minim = new Minim(this);
  in = minim.getLineIn(Minim.STEREO,2048);

  fft = new FFT(in.bufferSize(), in.sampleRate());

void draw()
 // background(0);
   // perform a forward FFT on the samples in the input buffer

  for(int i = 0; i < rowmax /* fft.specSize() */; i++)
  // fill in the new column of spectral values
    sgram[i][col] = (int)Math.round(Math.max(0,2*20*Math.log10(1000*fft.getBand(i))));
     sgramb[i][col+1] = (int)Math.round(Math.max(0,2*20*Math.log10(1000*fft.getBand(i))));
    if ( sgramb[i][col] >= sens) {
      trig = 10;
     fill(0, sgram[i][col], 255);
     rect(460, 381, 5, -((sgram[i][col]*2)));
  // next time will be the next column
  col = col + 1;
  // wrap back to the first column when we get to the end
  if (col == colmax) { col = 0; }
  // Draw points. 
  // leftedge is the column in the ring-filled array that is drawn at the extreme left
  // start from there, and draw to the end of the array
  for (int i = 0; i < colmax-leftedge; i++) {
     for (int j = 0; j < rowmax; j++) {
     // sgwt =(sgram[j][i+leftedge])-(sgramb[j][255]);
  // Draw the rest of the image as the beginning of the array (up to leftedge)
  for (int i = 0; i < leftedge; i++) {
    for (int j = 0; j < rowmax; j++) {
  // Next time around, we move the left edge over by one, to have the whole thing
  // scroll left
  leftedge = leftedge + 1;
  // Make sure it wraps around
  if (leftedge == colmax) { leftedge = 0; }
  // Add frequency axis labels
 int x = colmax + 5; // to right of spectrogram display
 line(x,0,x,height); // vertical line
  // Make text appear centered relative to specified x,y point
 for (float freq = 0.0; freq < in.sampleRate()/2; freq += 500.0) {
   int y = height - fft.freqToIndex(freq); // which bin holds this frequency?
    line(x,y,x+3,y); // add tick mark
   text(Math.round(freq)+" Hz", x+5, y); // add text label
   // zoom around mouse
  //copy((mouseX-25), (mouseY-25), 50, 50, 1, 1, 100, 100);
  fill(0, 0, 0);
  rect(1, 1, 465, 120);
  fill(255, 255, 255);
    lvlm = mouseY-125;
    if(lvlm < 0){ lvlm = 0 ;}
    if (lvlm > 255) { lvlm =255;}
    lvl = sgramb[lvlm][395] ;
  text(mouseX+" "+mouseY+" "+lvl, 10,10 );
  userinfo() ;
  //text( date()+" "+time());
  // 395 338 main ffequency location.
  if (trig <= 10) {
    copy(335, 125, 75, 256, 475, 125, 75, 256);
    fill(0, 0, 0);
    rect(475, 1, 72, 120);
    fill(255, 255, 255);
    text(mode+"\nSENS\n"+sens+"\nMtR\n"+count+"\n"+trig, 480,50);
    trig-=1 ;
    if (trig == 1) {
        trig = 0 ;
    if (trig <= 0) {
      trig = 99 ;

void keyPressed() {
   if (key =='x') {
  if (key =='c') {
    count = 0;
    text(mode+"\nSENS\n"+sens+"\nMtR\n"+count, 480,50);
   if (key =='-') {
    sens-=1 ;
   text(mode+"\nSENS\n"+sens+"\nMtR\n"+count, 480,50);
   if (key =='=') {
    sens+=1 ;
    text(mode+"\nSENS\n"+sens+"\nMtR\n"+count, 480,50);
   if (key =='m') {
    if (mode == "AUTO") { mode = "MANU"; }
     else { mode = "AUTO"; }
    text(mode+"\nSENS\n"+sens+"\nMtR\n"+count, 480,50);

void saveimg() {

void userinfo() {
   textFont(fontA, 14);
   text("RADIO METEOR COUNTER\n"+"[E(x)it][Sensitivity -(-)/+(=)]\n"+"[(C)lear counter][(M)ode AUTO/MANU ]", 50, 50 );
   textFont(fontA, 12);

void stop()
  // always close Minim audio classes when you finish with them


 ---------------------/\/\/\/\/\ cut here /\/\/\/\/\-----------------

Friday, August 31, 2012

SDO CME launch

A Large prominence that had rotated around from the edges of the sun as viewed from earth and SDO was actually a long filament of suspended plasma. The above picture is the  filament erupting from the surface due to hotter material being released below it. See it in motion...

The early days ,, a stable large prominence
A wide view,  , note the red matter is released
A closer view,

The CME launches through the SOHO C2 and C3 imagers.


image data courtesy of Helioviewer/SDO/NASA and LASCO/SOHO/NRL

Thursday, August 9, 2012

SDO Spinning Plasma


SDO Spinning Plasma is seen here in this extended movie I have created from a sequence of Helioviewer movies. This is why I really like opacity blended Helioviewer movies.
How many states of Plasma are there?
Why are some in motion and others stay in globule like forms?
Why did the spinning start?
I hope some one is writing a good book that explains this stuff.
The upload video compression has affected the quality, I'll try a different upload point and link to it soon. Try this link,

Make your own version at Helioviewer, it will look much better.
Amazing Image data courtesy of SDO/Helioviewer/NASA

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SDO + Helioviewer = A colourful SUN

image data courtesy of NASA/SDO/Helioviewer processed by Me.
The Internet lets you do some amazing things these days. Lots of astronomy related citizen science and crowd sourcing projects can keep you busy almost 24 hours a day. The Sungrazer project has allowed me to discover over thirty comets, and has resulted with my name being mentioned in a few scientific papers. Just being an observer or a science image browser can be very satisfying. When you let the big guys know about what you have seen, then sometimes they recognise that a new piece of the grand puzzle has been found.

A not so new place to look at scientific images of the SUN is the web based Helioviewer. This site allows you to look at the almost real time images being generated by the Solar Dynamics Observatory , SDO. You can see images at a number of  different wavelengths and create single images or even long sequence animations. The amount of detail to be seen, and very interesting solar structures, when animated make my jaw drop every time.

Generally, the different wavelength images are presented in false colours, red, blue, yellow and the like. What I want to show you here is a feature of the Helioviewer site that lets you move beyond plain red blue or yellow images and sequences. Using the opacity slider with up to three wavelengths results in very interesting images that I think show more details and the direct relationships between the dynamic structural features. Features seen in one wavelength are sometimes not seen in other wavelengths, when merged in to an opacity blended set of images the relationship becomes apparent.

So what colours look good, I like these sets of image wavelengths, lots of structure to be seen.

And then when you make an small movie of a few days a spinning sun looks amazing.
follow these links for a better view in Helioviewer

Here is the settings in the Helioviewer Images tool that I have used here.
 Note the position of the Opacity slider.
Have fun...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Machholz 96P returns

Periodic comet 96P Machholz is inbound on its return journey around the sun. It has been detected by some ground based observers already, the last I can find says it is already at magnitude 13 in early morning southern skies.

This comet is very active and has been seen to have very long Ion and dust tails. These images are from the last return, 2007 April, which was seen in the STEREO HIA solar imager.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Venus Transit

Getting ready to have ago at the upcoming Venus Transit, a few days to go. I don't have any suitable solar filters for my telescope or camera, so I have had to resort to the A4 black card and Tracing paper method. Some construction photos  below.

The card box is a bit flimsy so I will need to strengthen it some how. Some basic tests using the DSLR camera out the back. A few sun spots are seen, I hope Venus is a bigger moving dot, magnification may be a problem, but focus seems ok.

Transit Morning, 7:30am the sky is blue but clouds approaching from the west. I had to set the Telescope on the road to get the first part of the transit, luckily I am at the end of a quite court.
My First Detection of Venus, the little notch on the lower edge.

The second contact happens here.
Venus in motion at Second contact.

The clouds seem to be breaking up so I may get a chance at the Third and Fourth contact points.

Rats, the clouds got in the way, also had technical issues with a different camera, a few mid transit images but no third or fourth contacts, May be next time..... 8)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Phaethon Returns


Asteroid 3200 Phaethon has again been seen in STEREO A HI1 imager. I have pushed the pixels around to make it more visible, the moving white object.
Image data courtesy of STEREO/SECCHI/NASA/NRL.

20160820 Phaethon

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bay Dolphins

20120501 - Not seen every day, these dolphins where seen leaping and fishing of the beach in Hobsons Bay a northern part of Port Phillip bay. There was about a dozen dolphins split  into two groups. The area of the bay is close to a reef of rocks. So I think they were fishing....

Fins and leaping....

More leaping dolphins....

This appears to being fishing behaviour, a row of dolphins travelling near the surface...

Thursday, April 26, 2012


NOVA SAGITTARII 2012 = PNV J17452791-2305213,
becomes apparent in STEREO HI1B imager across 20120420-23.

Image data courtesy of STEREO/SECCHI/NASA/NRL

Monday, April 16, 2012

SDO and Helioviewer

Have you noticed the little symbol in Helioviewer that allows you to download a greyscale image of the current time stamp. Useful for quick imageJ processing. see images below.
image Data courtesy of SDO/Helioviewer.

Very recent CME 20120416
Comet LoveJoy Montage outbound
Comet Lovejoy inbound

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Enterprize in Pursuit.....

The Enterprize (not the space ship..) has pursued the HMS Endeavour into the Yarra river.

... ready photon torpedoes Mr Chekov
.... sorry I meant to say grape shot... 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Unexpected Rainbow

This post is for Ian Astroblogger's pursuit of unexpected architectural rainbows.

I had to get my car serviced the other day, so after an early morning walk into the city along the river for some CBD shopping.
damm, no early morning comets to be seen...

On the way back, I had stopped for a noon day pale ale at The Boat builders Yard which sits on the south side of the river near the Melbourne exhibition centre, that's not me in the picture obviously...

A shimmer of colour caught my eye. it seems to be coming from a reflection of the sun on the river. 


I am not sure how this rainbow it being created as I am viewing it through a glass sheet near the walkway, so is it  a reflection from the glass to the river and back from the river to me?...the glass sheet may be acting as the prism.

And as an observation of how unexpected things can happen, I had just brought a set of three prisms from this very interesting store in Melbourne. , I am intending to make a basic Amici prism spectrascope, just for fun....