Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Comet ISON

Leaving the Sun
Comet ISON now a diffuse object leaving the harsh solar environment. Not much left ...

A couple of views of ISON first fading in SOHO C3 and the new tail reappearing in SOHO C2.
Those with a keen eye will see the ISON gas tail swing away clock wise  the C3 images and persist across the perihelion passage to continue to grow  in C2

A new angle on ISON in SOHO C2

Ground Viewing 20131130
No luck as the comet was not condensed or bright enough, just dusticles and smudges. I could see some thermals when i pushed the pixels around with imageJ.

Update 20131130 ISON gets Hot!
You already know this and much more,but the data lag means we have to wait for the good images.
ISON brightness flares and Encke flys on..

Update 20131129 - Well is was Fryday  for ISON. It has been quite surprising, I'll post images when the good data is publicly available. But you may like to see these two long HI1A sequences.Here are my two avi's , may not load in windows viewer so use quicktime. Log scaled and contrast adjusted to make one pixel bright on ISON nucleus. Shows the tail material better.

STEREO HI1A ISON 20131120-24

A longer sequence 20131120-24
What dynamic features can you see? double click to make the video full screen, looks better..8)
A better long sequence 20131121-22
Logscaled images.

ISON Enters HI1A 20131120
more details become visible due to better imager resolution. Some rotational aspects become apparent,  I think

ISON tail dynamics
more tails interactions in with the solar wind across 20131119 seen in STEREO HI2A
ISON tail dynamics

Make that four
A fourth small comet has appeared in the HI2A FOV. Comet Nevski..
Comet ISON has brightened and is interacting with passing CME material.

CME passing by ISON 20131114

ISON interacts with CME, tail disconnection event 20131114

Three comets in the wind
ISOn, Lovejoy and now Encke are all detectable in STEREO HI2A images from 2013110
ISON showing some elongation. CME materials is passing by, long ION tails are being seen from ground images of all these comets. Encke is also in the FOV of STEREO HI1A showing some tail dynamics.

ISON in the solar wind

  Update 20131030-
ISON has been detected in STEREO HI1B roll data.
Recent images from the ground have seen some tail disturbances of LoveJoy. A CME plume is passing by, more are following.

I tweaked these images and data from the Goddard  and STEREO NASA guys to show where ISON is in relation to the windy inner solar system. You can also see the new Lovejoy comet tracking northwards. The colorful charts shows CME predictions into the future, while the STEREO images are from the past 5 days.

ISON possibilities

This image of comets disrupting or vaporizing as seen from STEREO COR2 image data. Well known Lovejoy is the only one that made it around the corner before failing. A few Kreutz examples are here and a SWAN detected comet. I think there are different events happening in the images. SWAN appears to vapourize while the others appear to disrupt before getting close. These are possibilities for ISON as it get close to the SUN.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Comet Encke 2013

update 20131203- Encke exhibits some tail dynamics closer into the Sun .

Comet Encke is now in the FOV of STEREO HI1A. It has some interesting features. I Can see the dust tail radial discovered by Spitzer and seen in this image from Micael Jager.  MJ image Encke dust tail

My Image processing in this anim GIF,

Friday, October 4, 2013

DIY Passive Radar Meteors

Found this very interesting use of USB TV dongles. This very smart guys had made a passive Doppler radar that can see aircraft and occasional meteors . I gotta try this at least once...need more info though.
see this link and follow to the guy doing the really cool stuff.

howto Passive Radar RTL-USB

take a good look at the video....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

ALT-AZ mount DIY

Found these $20 digital levels at Aldi. They have 0.1 degree resolution, so made two of these into an manual AltAz mount. Still a little bit wobbly but can carry the DMK51 and 26mm lens. I will try to image the current Nova if the clouds go way. Using a similar technique to processing STEREO/SECCHI images I hope to be able to see down to at least mag 8, hopefully mag 10. This will let me see Neptune and some of the brighter asteroids. The drift technique will allow the motion of the planet or asteroid to be detected. I propose to look at the SOHO kreutz comet path that occasionally passes overhead, perchance to see an early comet.

update 20130828 - Some efforts with this mount. Positioned the camera and let the FOV drift taking 1 second images Making a medium of 20 images. FOV is 15x10 degrees, down to appox mag 8,.
CRUX again

Scorpion tail with M6 andM7

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meteor Morning Perseid?

Maybe a Perseid??
After a clear evening twilight on 20130812 the clouds rolled in with a few hours of rain. The clouds persisted until about 2012813 0400. About the time the Perseid Radiant was well below the north horizon from Melbourne Australia this single meteor was caught by the tail.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Morning Meteor 20130710

20130710 AM All activity , good meteor 0531...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Meteor Camera ...DIY

More fun with Meteors......
I have this new DMK51 camera that I have been using to capture comets with the ED80 telescope or a 26mm lens, lots of  fun, see Panstarrs blog entries. The camera is connected to a tablet via USB and the other USB port  is connect to a 1 Tb drive.

 So, the concept here is big sky imaging using small equipment that can be easily setup on the car roof at a dark location. No need to do tracking just yet. Attaching, a small fish eye lens to the DMK has proved interesting. I can see a few satellites, and the occasional small meteor. Here's a good one on the edge of the frame from a few nights ago, Lyrid ?? may be.

 The software that comes with the camera allows you to make 100 frame AVI's. I have to manually look through each avi to find the good frames with meteors, or satellites. I am quite lazy about this method, and wanted an auto triggered frame grab when a bright meteors happen. The software I have been using seemed promising again. It has video capture and play back functions. Also image processing functions. Could it do the job?

Well, yes as it turns out. Under windows 7 the camera is detected, and frames can be saved on a trigger event. So, I made a little program using the processing examples as a starter. Using a laser pointer as a meteor simulator. I can track the brightness of the light and see it at speed.  It has a grid and a compass the rotates so that north setting can be made correct.

One of the tricks that makes this work is that the DMK camera remembers its last settings, so you can set the exposure time to get the best frame rate. I used an exposure of 1/6 second and gain and gamma set to 255. Then turn of the DMK Icapture software and let take over the camera.

 I will try it out when the clouds clear away in the next few days. Hope it works......then i share the code, as i did with the radio meteor software.   8)

Wahooo.... its working , and can detect car lights pass along the edge of the FOV. This AVI has mostly clouds, so the next clear night will be the big test......

Here is the code for this version, DIY-MeteorCamera , copy the text into a new processing sketch and run.
You should see a list of available cameras. Make sure you can see your DMK camera. Change the code at this location,
     // The camera can be initialized directly using an element
    // from the array returned by list():
    cam = new Capture(this, cameras[29]);  // <<<<<
    //29 name=The Imaging Source Europe GmbH DMK 51AU02.AS,size=1600x1200,fps=12
    // set gamma = 255 set exposure = 1/6 sec set gain = 255

It should also work with built in  cameras or most any that can be detected in the list, you will need to tweak some of the code to make it look good for your camera.  Have fun..........8)

Upate 20130430 - Cars, Planes, but no meteor trains.....there's never a bright fireball when you want one....tracking bright aircraft ok... may have a big problem with a bright moon...hmm ..

Update 20130503 - While waiting for a meteor, i put the 26mm lens back on the camera and took a quick few frames of Crux, good depth for 1 sec frames.

Update 20130510 - No good meteors detected, so a few more tests reveal good satellite tracks.


Attached the camera to an old ETX90 mount I had lying around not being used. Now, I can track the imager  all over the sky. 

Update 20130524 - Added a bit of plumbing and gutted one of those imitation security camera shells to make  an all-weather housing, don't know how water tight it will be, the plumbers out there will recognize the bits from the local hardware store, under $50 of bits.

Also changed the trigger method to frame to frame brightness difference that is more sensitive  It captured this satellite passing over head, a comos I think....


Update 20130526  - I'll call this my proof of concept image. A small meteor captured over 4 frames with the trigger detection square indicting that it was a detected event. 
small meteor detected near  the pointers
This small avi shows that over ten minutes with a full moon rising that small meteors can still be detected.

Update 20130622 - Had three clear nights to run a full twilight to dawn scan for events. Generating about 3.5Gb of images, as I take one image on every 55th second and any detected events. So just running for detected events should produce less data. Caught some good small examples and can get smaller spot meteors. Here is a good couple,
The sky was very clear and cold, no fogging or icing on the allsky dome, but the car window iced up each morning. Now to add some statistics in the form of an activity clock.....

Update 20130704 - Generating more than 8GB of data as clouds roll across the sky, will need to work out a cloud detection method. A busy sky during the evening of 20130703, then morning of 20130704 clouds skirted by, with a few good detects mixed in, one very good longer duration event in the morning sky..

Monday, April 1, 2013

Long Tail Comets

Update 20130401 - Great Comets depend on your Point Of View within your Field Of View.
A collection of STEREO comet views......

The wide FOV of the STEREO satellites have captured several comets that exhibit long and dynamic tails. This is comet C/2007 F1 LONEOS ..... more to follow..


This is Machholz 96P, showing a long Ion tail and a wedge shaped Dust tail.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Comet C/2011 L4 Panstarrs

Update - 20130404- Panstarrs was detected in STEREO HI1A roll data images on 20130319 3 days after leaving HI1B imager FOV.
image data courtesy of STEREO/SECCHI/NASA/NRL

Update - 20130320 - Ground base images with longer exposures are now showing more of the tail structures that have been seen in STEREO HI1B images.
image credits to Michael Jager and STEREO/SECCHI/NASA/NRL.

Update - 20130316 Tail dynamics of Panstarrs ..
..STEREO HI1B Panstarrs tails avi...
Update - 20130315 - The Stereo images for 20130312 are publicly available.
Panstarrs just keeps getting better. The tail is now visible in Hi2B imager

Update - 20130314 - Panstarrs enters the STEREO HI1B imager FOV on 20130309. The tail details have evolved into the following structures. The tail length is now beyond 10degrees.
20130311 - C/2011 L4 Panstarrs in STEREO HI1B
Image data courtesy of STEREO/SECCHI/NRL/NASA. processed with ImageJ.
Remember McNaught from 2007....

Update - 20130306 - Some treatments of the 1sec avi data using imageJ.

Update - 20130305 - This is probably the last effort with Panstarrs for a few days. Finally got to put the ED80mm and DMK51AS on to the comet head. I let it drift across the FOV taking 1sec images
Still to work over the set of avi's. Here is a first look at the data...

Update 20130304 - A view from the local high ground looking west ....
C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS - 20130304 - Melbourne
then east...
Looking East to Melboune CBD

Update 20130301 - More wide FOV of C/2011 L4 PanSTARRS using a DMK51As and 26MM lens.


Update 201302234 - Now in evening skies of Melbourne, 10 sec exposure. (click for larger view)

Picture Info - CamModel Canon EOS 450D Shooting Date/Time 23/02/2013 9:08:06 PM
Exposure  10 sec  Aperture 5.6 ISO 1600 Lens EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 Focal Length 75.0mm