Cool Science Festival Presentation on Saturday October 11, 2020
Rich Russel made an online presentation at the Cool Science Festival. The presentation covered the science of radio astronomy and the accomplishments of the Deep Space Exploration Society. The presentation was streamed live on Facebook and Youtube. You can watch the presentation here:
This 8-day regional event, designed to ignite wonder and inspire curiosity about the world around us, attracts between 10,000 and 20,000 attendees each year. For more information about the Cool Science Festival go to:
Bob Haggart and Rich Russel did an observation all nighter on Friday/Saturday (September 19, 2020, GMT) and observed 2 pulsars. VELA (B0833-45) is one of the strongest pulsars at 5 JY while B1946+35 is at 0.145 JY. DSES is one of the most northern amateur stations to detect VELA. We detected it in 15 minutes at 5 to 6 degrees elevation. This make 13 pulsars and puts us 5th on the international amateur pulsar hunter list. http://www.neutronstar.joataman.net/
The DSES team of Rich Russel, Ray Uberecken, and Glenn Davis observed for pulsars on Saturday September 5, 2020 at the DSES 60-foot dish antenna at Haswell, CO.
The team successfully observed 5 pulsars which we hadn’t been able to detect before.
The success is attributed to the calibration of the antenna pointing system and the new automatic tracking system developed by the System 1 team.
We started with calibrating the azimuth of the antenna (it was 2.5 degrees off!) Elevation was good. Glenn put the offset in the auto tracking system and we were able to detect the B0329+54 pulsar within 30 minutes. (We use the B0329+54 pulsar, the first one we successfully saw last May, as a starting reference. If we can observe this, we know our system is working.) Every pulsar we looked at after that was detected – we just ran out of time for more!
It is possible we missed observing previous pulsars because our pointing accuracy was off.
The pulsar, B1133+16, was observed on the 60 ft dish antenna by Rich Russel and Ray Uberecken after 4 hours of tracking and collecting data on the pulsar.
This pulsar is the weakest object observed by DSES at 0.257 Janskys!
The pulsar is noted for having a “conal double” peak in its profile. Our observation picks this out very well.
The PRESTO analysis program results are shown below.
The conal double plot is produced from the raw data and plotted in excel.
PSR B1133+16 is located at RA 11h 33m 27s Declination +16.07°, in the northeast part of the constellation Leo. It was observed with a pulse period of 1.187 seconds. Our center frequency was 417 MHz, and we used a 10 MHz bandwidth.
(The name B1133+16 conveys the celestial sky coordinates, referenced to a standard year epoch. In this case the B indicates the position is from the year 1950, the “Besselian” year, named after the German astronomer Friedrich Bessel.)
Congratulations to the entire membership for turning the DSES dish into a world class scientific instrument!
The pulsar, B0329+54 (J0332+5434)1, was observed on the third try just before the team was ready to pack up for the day on Saturday, May 2, 2020. A final modification of the software defined radio settings was tried (all the gains were set to a minimum) did the trick.
The 60-ft dish was setup to manually track the pulsar using the System 1 tracking program software developed by Glenn Davis and Phil Gage. This program allowed us to track the pulsar’s position by keeping it in the bullseye.
We observed at a frequency of 420 MHz, with a bandwidth of 10 MHz.
The pulsar system was initiated last year by Steve Plock. Our mentor throughout the effort has been Dr. Joe Martin (K5SO) in New Mexico. Joe validated that we made a successful pulsar capture.
The GNU radio software was turned on to start the
It should be noted that
you cannot tell if you have the pulsar real-time because it is pulsing way
below the noise level. After about 30 minutes, we stopped the acquisition and
we moved the post-processing over to Bob’s new workbench.
Rich and Ray celebrate
our first pulsar! (Bob’s taking the picture)
The first iteration of post -processing requires that the pulsar period be estimated with a program called TEMPO. The first iteration is shown below. It clearly shows a pulsar because of the prominent peaks and the lines tracing down the plots, however it is not quite set to the optimum period.
After some more iterations the final picture looked cleaner.
More analysis using the resultant data files allowed us to verify the pulsar as B0329+54 (J0332+5434).
pulse width at the 50% height (W50) was estimated. The preliminary analysis
below shows a measured W50 of 6 ms. The current value in the ATNF database is
6.6 ms. This is real close and confirms our observation.
More observation runs are planned and DSES can can consider itself one of the few amateur organizations to accomplish pulsar observations2.
PSR B0329+54 is a pulsar approximately 3,460 light-years away in the constellation of Camelopardalis. It completes one rotation every 0.71452 seconds and is approximately 5 million years old.[Ref: wikipedia]
Recently Dr. Richard Russel attended the Very Large Array (VLA) Imaging course in Socorro, New Mexico. This course taught how to take the data sets from the VLA archive and produce images. The following is the first set of images reduced from the VLA archive by Dr. Russel.
Images were made of these astronomical objects:
3C75 Binary Black Hole System
3C391 Supernova Remnant
Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) Star IRC+10216
MG0414+0534 Gravitational Lens HI Absorption Line
Each image takes about 1 day to produce from the raw observation.
The DSES 9-foot dish is operational at Dr. Russel’s house in Colorado Springs. It is outfitted with a 1420 MHz feed with 2 low-noise amplifiers with over 40 dBi of gain and a noise figure of 0.35. The receiving system is a Spectracyber 1.
The output of the Spectracyber shows the relative peaks of hydrogen with a corresponding Doppler measurement.
Dr. Russel performed a drift scan of the visible sky and plotted the relative peak hydrogen signals.
The hydrogen maps very well
to the visible Milky Way. The plot below converts the Celestial Coordinates
into Galactic Coordinates. Note that the peak hydrogen is concentrated near the
0 Galactic Latitude.
Thanks to Ray Uberecken and Steve Plock for helping to set up the system.
Editor’s note: During the DSES Open House on the weekend of August 11, 2018, three receiver systems were tested on the 60-foot dish antenna. Dr. Richard Russel reports on their successful results, and he shows what we see in our data plots. Some highlights to point out:
The Spectracyber definitively observed the neutral hydrogen of the Milky Way as the beam width completely crossed the galactic plane.
The RASDR4 observed a known neutral hydrogen radio source, which has a closer cloud along the line of sight that absorbs some of the hydrogen signal. The distinctive signal feature is known from published data by the Parkes Radio Observatory in Australia.
The RASDR2 detected a 1296 MHz beacon set up at the home of a member about 80 miles away. This is our first definitive detection of a beacon at 1296 MHz.
-Gary Agranat, website editor.
Open House Observations using the 60-foot Dish Antenna
The DSES and Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) teams installed three different receivers onto the 60-foot dish during the open house.
Successful Installation and Testing of the DSES Spectracyber Neutral Hydrogen Receiver.
The Spectracyber was installed on the 60-foot dish during the DSES Open House on August 11, 2018.
The Spectracyber measures 1420.406 MHz +- 600 KHz. The observation was taken while passing the galactic plane at RA: 19hr 5 Min, Dec: 6 degrees 0 Min.
The observation shows a significant signal to noise ratio as seen below.
Follow-on observations will allow for measurement of the rotation rate of the Milky Way and Solar System!
RASDR4 Receiver Successful Observation of Hydrogen Absorption Line
Tony Bigbee used his RASDR4 on the 60-foot dish to observe this hydrogen absorption line at RA: 18.15hrs, Dec:-20 deg.
This target is a hydrogen source with a cloud of material between the source and Earth that absorbs the hydrogen energy resulting in a drop off of signal as shown below.
1296 MHz Beacon Observation using a RASDR2
Bogdan Vacaliuc installed a RASDR2 onto the 60-foot dish and was able to observe the 1296 MHZ beacon at Ray Uberecken’s house, about 80 statute miles distance to the west-northwest. This observation helped verify the azimuth pointing accuracy of the 60-foot dish.
Sky & Telescope has a short, illustrated news item today about high resolution 1H (atomic hydrogen) observations of our galaxy from Australia and Germany. It includes a video showing how the view changes with wavelength due to Doppler shift. I thought this would be good to share; this is what we’ll be looking for with the HI drift scans.
Astronomers Map Millky Way in Incredible Detail – Sky & Telescope