2020-10-26 DSES Science Meeting Notes: by Bill Miller
We had 14 participants in the virtual science meeting today: Thanks everyone for joining.
Participants: Dr. Rich Russel, Ray Uberecken, Chad Carter N0ZMG, Don Lewis, Matt Mathews, Bob Haggart, Michael Nameika, Gary Agranat, Jonathan Ayers,Floyd Glick, Don Latham, Myron Babcock, Ted Cline on Phone, Bill Miller
Also see the Zoom Video Recording for more detail:
Problem with the 1296 MHz feed last weekend. Took down the Feed amplifier and found the unit was stuck in the transmit configuration due to a failed FET in the Relay driver. Fixed this and added a gate protection resistor to solve the problem.
A second issue was discovered with one of the coaxial swivel joints that failed on the feed lines. Will find a new swivel joint or alternate method of coupling the coax while allowing for the cable wrap.
See slide 4 of Rich’s slide presentation above.
Gary EME report.
See report of contacts in slide 5 of Rich’s Power point presentation above.
On November 28 and 29th there will be another EME contest under nearly a full moon.
Nov 27 – 28 Moon Rise 3:19 PM set at 5:03 AM
Nov 28 – Nov 29th Moon rise 3:47 PM to about 6:03 AM
We will benefit by organizing the operation trip, to utilize our time while the moon is overhead with multiple operators.
Morse code is simple and effective. Can be done with the computer keyboard or with a keyer.
Simple protocol of multiple repeats on Call sign, signal report and acknowledgement should be followed.
Signals experience polarization rotation, we therefore circularly polarize our signal.
Operation on JT65C will be added.
Operating EME is an experience you won’t forget
Astronomy at Hydrogen Line 1420.406 MHz: See Rich’s PPT presentation page 6 to end.
SARA “Radio Astronomy in a Box” costs about $250 and is a great platform for a science fair project. Rich has one for evaluation and will lend to a worthy student.
2.4 G dish
Stellarium planetarium software
Can be used for science fair
Don’t download the SW, as it has a virus.
Rich has another source of virus free SW.
We have a new student member, Michael Nameika who is a student at UCCS interested in Astrophysics and Radio Astronomy. He has been working with Professor Floyd Glick at the PPCC observatory and with Steve Plock. Welcome, Michael.
Myron Babcock, DSES Treasurer, has received a very generous donation of a Yaesu FT-736R from N6KN, Rocco Lardiere in California. He also triple boxed the unit and paid the FedEx postage to ensure that it arrived in great shape. This will make an excellent addition to our radio resources and backup to our high band EME and Tropo communication. Thank you, Rocco.
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:
Text and photos by Gary Agranat. Analysis pdf by Rich Russel.
On Saturday September 12, 2020 an observing team of Rich Russel, Bob Haggart, Bill Miller, and Gary Agranat spent the day observing pulsars. This is the first observing session since we recalibrated the 60-foot antenna azimuth pointing the weekend before. The team observed 3 pulsars we had not seen before. Plus several other pulsars were attempted. The team spent the whole day at the site, from about 9 AM to 7 PM.
The pulsar signals are so faint that we cannot detect them directly. To observe them, we have to point to the correct celestial coordinates and then track that point as the Earth rotates. While we are pointed, our computer accumulates the signal data. We need at least a half hour continuously tracking the position. At this session some of our observing runs lasted 2 hours, for the fainter objects. At previous sessions we have tracked for as long as 4 hours.
After the observing track, we have our software process the data. The random background noise should cancel itself out. But the pulse signals should build up with time. If we have the correct timing interval of the pulses, and if everything else is working, the computer display will show the pulses, and several other parameters.
Pulsars are very unusual objects. These are what remain of massive stars (greater than 5 solar masses) after they use up all their fuel for nuclear burning. These more massive stars fuse heavier and heavier elements at their cores until they start to fuse iron from silicon. Unlike the fusion of other elements, iron requires energy to fuse, rather than produce energy. The sudden reduction of energy at the core drops the temperature and pressure there. The pressure at the core is no longer enough to counter the weight of the star’s material above it. Gravity is now the stronger force, and the material above collapses in on the center. The pressure and temperature at the core then becomes even higher, which starts new reactions that fuse the matter at the center to neutrons, and and which also generates neutrinos. The outer layers falling in at great speed bounces back out. The result is a supernova explosion. What remains is the neutron star at the center. It is extremely massive and compact. And like an ice skater rotating faster as the arms are brought in, the star’s rotation speeds up immensely. The star’s magnetic field also has become compressed and much more intense. Charged particles will rotate around the magnetic field lines, with very high energy. Whenever charged particles are forced to deviate their paths from a straight line they emit electromagnetic energy, like visible light and radio. At the neutron star’s poles, this energy is channeled out, with immense energy. Because the magnetic poles are generally not at the same spots as the rotational poles, the beam of this light and radio is spun around like a light house. If Earth happens to be in the path of such a beam, we detect that as a pulsar. So that’s what we’re observing. These neutron stars are hundreds and thousands of light years away.
Pulsars were first discovered by accident in 1967, by Jocelyn Bell (now Jocelyn Bell Burnell) who was then a graduate student at Cambridge University. Bob contributed a recent photograph of her, posed by some radio telescopes. We now proudly have that displayed on the wall above our computer displays.
Because the observing runs take a while, for this session we decided to try watching some videos. Bob brought a DVD player and a large monitor. Gary brought some educational videos, including one about the Crab Nebula and pulsars. Rich brought some movies.
On this work trip the team also inspected damage to our ham radio antennas, damage probably from the storm weather over the past months. 7 radials at the base of the vertical antenna were damaged. And the 3 element Yagi antenna on tower was slightly tilted along its longitudinal boom.
Tumbleweeds also had accumulated again at the bunker ramp. Some of the surrounding fence had also been damaged from the weather. Rich Russel brought some fencing to use in the future, to place over the immediate entrance path to the bunker door.
Repair of the ham antennas and ramp clearing will be planned for a future work trip.
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.
Nominally the Eastern Conference is held each year at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia. This year the conference was carried completely online using Zoom. The coordinator for this conference was our own DSES Science Lead, Richard Russel. Over 93 SARA members participated, including several DSES members. DSES members Ray Uberecken, Skip Crilly, and Rich Russel gave talk presentations. Rich also was elected as Vice President of SARA.
Discussion of needed policy on site installs and changes
We have had a number of site conflicts of late. These have resulted in a lot of waisted installation and observation time and frustration as well as hard feelings between members and damage to the dish, and operations center.
General Proposal: I have often said that if you see something that needs improvement and you have the skill to do it, take it on and just do it. We need to qualify that with a little more process. In order to improve the site, equipment and observation capability and move the organization forward we often need to make changes. The Engineering meeting is where we coordinate and plan for these changes. If not previously planned and you are on site and need to make a change to a significant system you must call the person who installed or last modified that system and discuss it with them prior to removing, modifying or replacing it.
Use the Engineering Meeting for what it was intended.
Be considerate and helpful to each other.
Communication and coordination of equipment changes should not be a problem and further conflicts will have to be dealt with.
We will need to repair the damage.
We all have a common goal to improve the facility and equipment. Let’s not have these issues. When in doubt, Ask.
We will potentially have photographers on site Thursday or Saturday for comet picture opportunity. Would like to have a member on site to give access and keep the photographers out of trouble. Any volunteers?
Don Savage don.savage54 (at) gmail.com is coordinating 4 or 5 night sky photographers.
We will have them sign a Liability Waver
The SARA virtual Eastern Conference will be held on Saturday and Sunday the 1st and 2nd of August. See the SARA web site for info and payment.
Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) is currently in the constellation of Ursa Major. The current Right Ascension is 11h 45m 40s and the Declination is +36° 12’ 10”
Additional pulsar observations. Please post planned dates and attendance
Additional SETI Observations. Please post planned dates and attendance.
Open house is cancelled for CoVid19, but we may do a small member camp out if some members would be interested in that.
We will also assemble a virtual Open House presentation for various usage such as public outreach, education, fundraising and general interest.
The Perseids will peak on Aug 11-12. On these nights, the moon will be 47% full.
The next dark sky moon phase is Aug 13th through Aug 21.
Glenn gave an overview of what was done recently on the System 1 Automatic Tracking HW and SW. New features include:
RA and Dec track automatically
Az/El position command
Track Moon Command
Tracking stayed within the bore site during the whole 5 hr. evening session.
Need to do more training, Glenn and his wife will go to the site tomorrow and draw up a training presentation and checklist.
Sun exclusion track but there is a pop up on the screen that you are in the sun exclusion area.
It would be nice to have a Raster Scan capability to map Object Hi Emissions and to help pointing accuracy.
Rich provided his presentation on Pulsar, Fast Radio Burst and other experiments and observation we can do.
5. Rich gave high praise and kudos to the System 1 team to get a very high quality tracking and control complete. Very clean system design and implementation from Glenn Davis, Lewis Putnam and Phil Gage. Much praise.
Discussion/presentation on Pulsar and other science topics from Dr. Richard Russel
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!
Rich Russel reports we observed our second confirmed pulsar, “We got B0950+08 today!!!!!!” The observing team was Rich Russel, Ray Uberecken, and Bob Haggart. The team did the observing and made the measurement at the Plishner radio telescope site with the 60-foot antenna yesterday on July 4, 2020. Congratulations to the team! And congratulations are due also to all of the DSES members who have been working hard to restore the 60-foot dish antenna and develop is capability as a working scientific tool! This is a long time coming.