DSES Science Meeting, May 24, 2021

We had our May DSES Science Meeting over Zoom. The meeting was led by Rich Russel, our DSES Science Lead. These are his presentation slides of the meeting. (The meeting was hosted and coordinated by Floyd Glick and Bill Miller.)

http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/DSES-Science-Meeting-5-24-2021-r2.pdf

We had 10 participants for this meeting. Some DSES business, work updates, and observing operations was discussed prior to the Science presenation part of the meeting.

Rich’s topic question for the evening was, why did the Event Horizon radio telescope group, who succeeded in 2019 to image a black hole for the first time, chose to observe the supermassive black hole in the active galaxy M87? To figure this out, we learned about what determines the physical size of a black hole, and its observable characteristics. And we learned about what determines the apparent angular resolution of an object in radio astronomy.

The meeting was recorded as a video mp4 file. We’re trying to transition to a new setup with Zoom. You can access the video of the meeting with this link. You can watch the first hour online. However, you can watch the whole meeting by going to the link and then downloading the video. You can then watch it as a video mp4 file.

2021-05-24 DSES Science Meeting.mp4 (dropbox.com)

DSES Science Meeting March 22, 2021

Welcome to the DSES Science meeting 3/22/2021.

by Bill Miller

We had 14 participants in the virtual science meeting today:  Thanks everyone for joining.

Participants: Dr. Rich Russel,  Ray Uberecken, Bob Haggart, Floyd Glick, Gary Agranat, Myron Babcock,Dan Layne, Edward  Currie, Jon Ayres, Tim Cline, Don Latham. Lewis Putman, Bob Sayers, Bill Miller

Also see the Zoom Video Recording for more detail:  

Topic: DSES Science Meeting,  Date: Mar 22, 2021 05:26 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/WmQScWFaV2DH22cSW9CAnYJgjhMsYpHDCmyt39GC-BFhJoCtqjNfg2n1bxpNC-U.FJAeQcMiaKhBY2Bw

Chat File from Meeting: http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/meeting_saved_chat.pdf

Agenda and Notes.    

  1. Myron’s Treasure’s Report: Checking: $2627.70 Savings: $5742.33. 34 current paid up members that include 5-life members and 1-student membership. Please pay your yearly $50 for full voting membership or $20 for interest only membership on Pay-Pal on the web site or by check to Myron at our Austin Bluffs address. Web site and PO box
    $130 box rent are coming due. Utility bill was about $58 last month
    Mail: Deep Space Exploration Society
    4164 Austin Bluffs Parkway #562
    Colorado Springs, CO 80918
  2. Have Larsen Hess is a new member from Fairbanks on Myron’s list.
  3. Myron is in contact with Larry Ludlow of the Fairbanks Gilmore NOAA tracking center employee and the deputy director of Mars Rover missions at JPL and another JPL employee and will try to get them connected with the DSES.
  4. BOD nominations were made, the election was held, but only 11 ballots were returned and received.
  5. Election results and officer assignments will be made by the new board at the all members virtual meeting which we agreed to schedule on April 12th in lieu of the normal engineering and ops meeting . Bill will organize and send an invitation to all members.
  6. Virtual Open House Presentation
    a. Front Range 6 Meter Group. President, Paul Sobon sobonpaul(at)gmail.com asked for a DSES presentation on Wed., Feb 10th at 7PM. Please view Bill’s presentation of the “Virtual DSES Open House” recorded from the Front Range 6 Meter Group at http://dses.science/dses-presentation-to-the-front-range-6-meter-group. This prompted invitations to give the presentation to several other amateur groups.
    b. Bill and Myron gave the virtual live Open House presentation to the Artic Amateur Radio Group based in Fairbanks on March 12th c. Bill was invited and gave the Open house presentation to the Utah DX Amateur group on March 17th to about 28 members.
    d. Bill was also invited and gave the presentation to the Oregon Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club on March 18th to about 38 Members.
  7. The ARRL has published the results from the 2020 EME moon bounce contest last autumn, which we participated in. Gary wrote a short post on the website about this, with links to further information.
    a. Gary mentioned last month, we were contacted last month by Rick Rosen K1DS, who was writing an article for QST about the contest. He included a segment in the article just about us. Gary attached the article that is now being published and attached the certificate we were awarded.
    b. In the post Gary explained a little how the scoring worked. We were credited with contacting 36 unique stations, which gave us a score of 90,000. And that put us in 4th place in the Multi-operator, all-mode, 1.2 GHz category.
    c. The Stanford University station W6YX, which we contacted, placed highest in our category, with 113 contacts. The highest number of contacts in the contest results was by a single-operator Eastern Russian station with 388 contacts, over several bands and modes. Gary suspects there is a higher density of EME stations in Europe, which can enable this kind of performance.
    d. Our operators for the contest were AA0L, KL7YY, and WA2JQZ. Glen Davis also was crucial for adjusting our antenna pointing system and ensuring we were operational. (WD0CUJ and Michael Namieka and Bill Miller KC0FHN also came out, and made a moon bounce test transmission, but didn’t make contest contacts.)
    e. The post on our website includes the Certificate and the QST article. ARRL 2020 EME Contest Results – Deep Space Exploration Society (dses.science)
  8. Here is the pdf for in DSES pubs tab for 9 ft dish
    20-Preliminary-Drift-Scan-Survey-using-the-New-9-foot-Dish-Neutral-Hydrogen-Measurement-System.pdf (dses.science)
  9. Our Site is photogenic!
    a. Don Savage and Jason Fazio did an all-nighter at the site on March 17th. They would like to do an onsite class in night photography at the site need to work this through the board.
    b. Andrew Miller, another photographer based out of Denver would like to do a project on the site
    c. Marc Slover and Michael Rice compiled the time-lapse videos.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=HLrpsVmBchE&feature=youtu.be
  10. BOD Initiative
    In 2019 and 2020 we accomplished a lot of the big goals that we had been working on for a number of years including (H1) Hydrogen Line mapping, Tropospheric scatter communications, Pulsar detection, and EME. Now that we have those accomplishments and can replicate them at will, we should look ahead and decide what we do next. Everyone should think of a radio astronomy or organization project that they think would be doable and important and get those into a list that we can review and go after with some more detailed plans. The main categories of interest would be:
    a. New observation initiatives
    b. Ham Radio capabilities, contesting and special events
    c. On site open house for Aug 2021
    d. Continued Infrastructure upgrade and maintenance.
    e. Instrument and electronics upgrade and additions.
    f. Scientific discovery, theory testing, and publication.
    g. Educational programs and events for members and students.
    h. Public outreach and member recruitment
  11. There is an upcoming Schriever STEM Day on April 23rd from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. This may be an opportunity to gain some new members and is an excellent outreach opportunity if we can get an invitation. Gary will check into it to see if we can get an invitation.
  12. Dr. Rich Russel’s Science presentation with Ted Cline’s graphical conversion and analysis of SpectraCyber data from Rich’s 9 ft backyard dish. Click on to view. Watch the meeting video for discussion.
    DSES Science Meeting 3-22-2021.pdf:
    http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/DSES-Science-Meeting-3-22-2021.pdf
    End of meeting

Richard Russel presentation: The use of the Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance Radio Telescope to predict the signal and observe the North American 2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Rich Russel will have a poster presentation this coming Saturday, March 21, 2021 at HamSci – Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation .

Rich will present his work about predicting the signal response of the 2017 total solar eclipse using the SID (Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance) radio telescope. The SID detects changes in ionospheric propagation of VLF signals due to solar activity. SID also measures changes at nominal sunrise and sunsets. Utilizing his historical data and geometry, Rich was able to predict what happened during the eclipse.

Please follow the links to read Rich’s poster presentation and to learn more.

The use of the Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance Radio Telescope to predict the signal and observe the North American 2017 Total Solar Eclipse | HamSCI

DSES Science meeting 2/22/2021

Welcome to the DSES Science meeting 2/22/2021

2021-02-22 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, Bob Haggart, Floyd Glick, Gary Agranat, Myron Babcock,Dan Layne, Brian O’Rourke, Dan Layne, Edward  Currie, Jerry Espada W7IEW, Jon Ayres, Tim Cline, Steve Williams W0ML,  Bill Miller

Also see the Zoom Video Recording for more detail:  

Topic: DSES Science Meeting

Start Time : Feb 22, 2021 05:27 PM

Meeting Recording:

We missed recording the operations and house keeping portion of the meeting, but this link includes all but the first few moments of the Science portion of the meeting.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/kUiVcAAiyqMexQTmUzZSq4Y4Xs3CrEv5gFOKUQxHZA8_Iymu5gkL78_f2qF2NCt3.YvX6G2M_ZqKk_g1K

This meeting’s notes on PDF

Agenda and Notes.    

  • Myron’s Treasure’s Report:  Checking: $2716.09,  Savings:   $5792.29.   33 current paid up members that include 5-life members and 1-student membership.  Please pay your yearly $50 for full voting membership or $20 for interest only membership on Pay-Pal on the web site or by check to Myron at our Austin Bluffs address.

Mail: Deep Space Exploration Society

4164 Austin Bluffs Parkway #562

Colorado Springs, CO 80918

  • Science Fair: Gary and Bill reviewed he projects submitted to the 2021 Virtual Pikes Peak Regional Science and Engineering Fair.    The awards were as follows

Junior Division:

1. $100  Lily Sobers – Outstanding Science Project:  The Science of Spin 

2. $50 Shrey Rohilla – 2nd Place Science and Engineering Project: Battle of the Blades 

3. $25 Gurman Goraya – Honorable Mention Science Project: Stellar Endgame  

Senior Division:

1. $100 Kathryn Kummel – Outstanding Science Project: Investigating Atmospheric
Convection as a Chaotic System though the Lorenz Attractors using
Mathematical Modeling and a Lorenz Water Wheel 

2. $50 Alden Kruse – 2nd Place Engineering Project: Something in the Water – Creating an Origami Microfluidic Device for Developing Communities

3. $25 Sean Brooks – Honorable Mention: Separating Microplastics from
Beach Sand Using a Fluidized Air Bed

Bill made Parchment Award Certificates and Myron wrote award checks for our winners. The monetary awards were taken from money generously donated for the purpose by Rich Russell from proceeds of his “Mind Files” project.

  • On Saturday Feb, 20 Gary and Bill gave the 6 science fair award certificates and checks to  Carol Bach, the fair coordinator at UCCS, for distribution to the students.

If anyone wants to see the projects, Bill has a list and files

  • Call for BOD Nominations.  We need at least three nominations for the board to replace or retain BOD members, Floyd Glick, Dave Molter, and Bill Miller by Feb 3rd.  Bill called Dave Molter this week and he declined to be nominated for retention as he is too busy to serve.  Don Latham was nominated and seconded in the engineering meeting and Ray Uberecken and Floyd Glick were also seconded in the meeting.  Later Bill self-nominated and Myron seconded.
  • Bill moves that nominations after this meeting will close and he will send out the election ballots in Email.  This was seconded and Bill will send out the Ballots on Feb 23.
  • BOD Initiative

In 2019 and 2020 we accomplished a lot of the big goals that we had been working on for a number of years including (H1) Hydrogen Line mapping, Tropospheric scatter communications, Pulsar detection, and EME.  Now that we have those accomplishments and can replicate them at will, we should look ahead and decide what we do next.  Everyone should think of a radio astronomy or organization project that they think would be doable and important and get those into a list that we can review and go after with some more detailed plans.   The main categories  of interest would be:

  1. New observation initiatives
  2. Ham Radio capabilities, contesting and special events
  3. On site open house for Aug 2021
  4. Continued Infrastructure upgrade and maintenance.
  5. Instrument and electronics upgrade and additions.
  6. Scientific discovery, theory testing, and publication.
  7. Educational programs and events for members and students.
  8. Public outreach and member recruitment
  •  There is an upcoming Schriever STEM Day on April 23rd from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  This may be an opportunity to gain some new members and is an excellent outreach opportunity.
  • Our Site is photogenic!   Don Savage and Jason Fazio would like to do some all-night photography at the site. Andrew Miller, another photographer based out of Denver would like to do a project on the site as well as Marc Slover and Michael Rice who compiled the time-lapse videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=HLrpsVmBchE&feature=youtu.be
  • Front Range 6 Meter  Group.  President, Paul Sobon sobonpaul@gmail.com asked for a DSES presentation on Wed. , Feb 10th .  at 7PM.  Please view Bill’s presentation of the “Virtual DSES Open House” recorded from the Front Range 6 Meter Group at http://dses.science/dses-presentation-to-the-front-range-6-meter-group.
  • If going to the site call Chad Carter to see if he would like to meet you there.  He often works on the camera on the large grain elevator in Haswell and other Eastern Colorado sites.  www.car-telenterprises.com 785-564-0118 cell. 
  • Planet Walk:
  • Dr. Rich Russel’s Science presentation. Click on to view.

Deep Space Exploration Society
Science Meeting

End of meeting

DSES Science Meeting January 25, 2021

Welcome to the DSES Science meeting 1/25/2021

2021-01-25 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, Bob Haggart, Floyd Glick, Gary Agranat, Lauren Libby, Myron Babcock, Robert Sayers, Dan Layne, Michael Nameika, Marc Slover, Phillip Coker, Paul Sobol NO0T, Bill Miller

Also see the Zoom Video Recording for more detail:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/4QX0KYVA-hEwRBuzXQOOWFATULWSDa1Om-BvlxFOdpIICmBVScbEnOn-f242PxYm.WmvPFXtfQNb75LwO?startTime=1611621114000

  1. Myron’s Treasure’s Report Checking $2533.03 Savings $5742.25 , We have 31 paid members. 23 yet to pay. Paul Sobon, Marc S.  Myron will pay the property tax shortly.
  2. Questions on ORION Meeting invite from David Fields.
  3. Call for BOD Nominations.  Need three nominations for the board to replace or retain BOD members, Floyd Glick, Dave Molter, and Bill Miller by Feb 3rd.
  4. BOD Initiative

In 2019 and 2020 we accomplished a lot of the big goals that we had been working on for a number of years including (H1) Hydrogen Line mapping, Tropospheric scatter communications, Pulsar detection, and EME.  Now that we have those and can replicate them at will, we have to ask ourselves, what else can we do and what direction(s) should we go in? In my opinion here are several key areas or categories that the org. needs to address with some more detailed plans.

1. Continued Infrastructure upgrade and maintenance

2. Instrument and electronics upgrades and additions

3. Scientific discovery, theory testing, and publication

4. Educational programs and events for members and students

5. Public outreach and member recruitment

6. New observation initiatives

  1. Science Fair:  Letter from PPRSF below.  The Science Fair will be on Feb. 18-20.

Hello Bill,

Please send us a list of your special award judges and their email contact information by February 10, 2021.

We will send you and your judges an email with the details and code to view projects in the virtual showcase.

The attached letter outlines the information for this year’s fair.

We are looking forward to your participation in the virtual science fair and are hoping that next year will be an in-person event.

Thanks!

Carol Bach, Karen Crosson and Lynne Williams 

  1. Our Site is photogenic!   Andrew Miller, another photographer based out of Denver would like to do a project on the site.
  2. Front Range 6 Meter  Group.   Paul Sobon sobonpaul[at]gmail.com The group would like an open house virtual presentation on Wed. , Feb 10th at 6:30 opening at 7PM. Bill is working on a general presentation.
  3. Chad Carter was in Haswell on Friday working on the camera on the large grain elevator.  Did anyone call him into the work trip Saturday. www.car-telenterprises.com 785-564-0118 cell.  Ray sent him email but he didn’t show at the site Saturday so probably had to return to home base.
  4. Planet Walk:
    • Bill will write an endorsement letter and have the DSES Board modify and approve for Planet Walk Colorado Springs. See https://www.planetwalkcs.org/ 
  5. Rich:  See all the notes about the site visit from Saturday Jan 23rd.
  6. See the DSES Science Meeting 1-25-2021 slides PDF from Dr. Rich Russel. http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/DSES-Science-Meeting-1-25-2021.pdfhttp://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/DSES-Science-Meeting-1-25-2021.pdf
  7. Saturday Power Glitch: A Mains power glitch caused an upset of the system and that drove the dish to the electrical stops. Rich believes that we should have a UPS or backup battery power on the tower electronics, including the Raspberry Pie and Ethernet Switch and on the Ethernet Switch and computer in the trailer to prevent this.  Bill suggests that anytime the dish is active the operators should monitor its position on the CCTV and use the panel VFD switch to kill the drive if not in control.  In this particular case the watch dog timer in the controller didn’t stop the drive because the computer was still sending updates.
  8. Marc Slover took some pictures while at the site up until about 9PM when the clouds came in.                  
  9. Dan Layne came down for the first time and he and Ray had a good conversation about the systems and the site.
  10. Rich got his 27 KHz, SuperSids receiver and data collection working again and it agrees with Floyd’s data. See graphs in the presentation.
  11.  Floyd uses a 5 ft by 5 ft. loop antenna in PVC to hook up. About 20 Ft per loop.
  12. Rich’s H1 hydrogen measurement with the spectra Cyber.
    • The Sara $300 H1 receiver or Radio Scope in a Box can receive Hydrogen data similar to the Spectra Cyber instrument.
    • For Positioning Use Stellarium Program for Windows or Linux.
  13. See the Zoom recording that will be up for the next 2 months for more detail.

End of meeting

DSES Science Meeting Nov 23, 2020

Welcome to the DSES Science meeting 11/23/2020

2020-11-23 DSES Science Meeting Notes, by Bill Miller

We had 16 participants in the virtual science meeting today:  Thanks everyone for joining.

Participants: Dr. Rich Russel,  Ray Uberecken, Lewis Putman, Bob Haggart, Don Latham, Floyd Glick, Gary Agranat, Glenn Davis, Jay Wilson, Jon Ayers, Lauren Libby, Myron Babcock, Robert Sayers, Ted Cline. Jerry Espada, Bill Miller

Agenda and notes;

Also see the Zoom Video Recording for more detail:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/3mwT_OSBrUV6KMi8GTTrcFaiG77Jmuuke72Jk1zmmUDpSrO2nAY3jFx49_muRz5I.7GK8PFSy5Vs-kL4R?startTime=1606177717000

Agenda and notes:

  1. Myron’s Treasure’s Report Checking $1774.28. Savings $5742.15. We have 49 paid members.
  2. Science Fair: 
    • Bill spoke with Carol Bach the coordinator,  she replied, “The Pikes Peak Regional Science and Engineering Fair will be held virtually on February 20, 2021.  We are hoping that the Deep Space Exploration Society will again sponsor a special award or awards at the fair.  In addition, we are hoping you or another member of your group will consider being a special awards judge.  We will send you a code to unlock a showcase with digital displays that you can view.  Virtual judging will take place between February 18-20, 2021.”
    • Bill to send board DSES Special awards criteria for approval.
    • “Please respond by December 2, 2020 to this email and confirm that your organization is planning to participate. Also, please let us know the name and contact email for future communications.”
  3. Planet Walk:
    • Bill will write an endorsement letter and have the DSES Board modify and approve for Planet Walk Colorado Springs. See https://www.planetwalkcs.org/
  4. Arecibo Failure:
    • See Bob Haggard’s repost on the Arecibo Radio Telescope status.
  5. Rich presented the DSES Science part of the Meeting:  See all notes in the DSES Science Meeting Power Point. http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/DSES-Science-Meeting-11-23-20.pdf
  6. Ray
    • Problem with the 1296 feed last trip.  Took down the Feed amplifier and found that the unit was stuck in the transmit configuration again due to a failed FET in the Relay driver.  Fixed this and added more gate protection circuitry to solve the problem. 
    • Also had a bad diode and a bad cable that had to be corrected.
    • The FT-736R Keyer connection failed on last trip but Ray fixed it.
    • Tried CW EME but couldn’t hear the echo.
    • Did receive Rays Home Based beacon bounced off Pikes Peak and verified pointing so the receiver chain is working.
  7. Gary Underground K0PRT  bunker station summary report.
    • FT8,  PSK Reporter website showed our station was received on 40 meters during afternoon in CA and TX.
    • 15M operation was hot
    • Our rare grid square (DM88) attracted many Japanese stations
    • Vertical working well on 15 and 40 meters. 10 meters was tried and at least had good SWR, but band was dead.
    • Yagi was also working well to Japan
    • PSK reporter showed good coverage on 15 meters all around the Pacific Rim.
    • See more in Rich’s slides above
  8. Glenn says that Phil is working on an elevation tracking update that will need some onsite testing when ready.
  9. Much discussion about the SDR receivers, GNU SW and the computer power needed to run them.  See the meeting recording for too much detail to capture here.

DSES Science Meeting October 26, 2020

Welcome to the DSES Science meeting 10-26-2020

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:

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/VGBjHU_8SX1oUIID9rfAETR6FDWU-AiO_jtXLBN5allYy37d8WWxX1-rcsEk_NwV.hIq6Lvmw397kui6R

Agenda and notes:

  1. Myron’s Treasure’s Report Checking $1756 Savings $5742.05  September electric Bill $90
  2. Rich:  See all notes in the DSES Science Meeting Power Point. DSES-Science-Meeting-10-26-20.pdf
  3. Ray
    • 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.
  4. Gary EME report.
    • Ray has JT65 digital setup ready
      • Use WSJT 10.0 Program for EME.
    • 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
  5. Astronomy at Hydrogen Line 1420.406 MHz:  See Rich’s PPT presentation page 6 to end.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Colorado Springs Cool Science Festival

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:

Carnival Day 2020: DSES – Finding Pulsars Using Radio Astronomy (3:50 pm)

Astronomer Rich Russel from the Deep Space Exploration Society describes how he uses the 60-foot Plishner radio astronomy dish antenna 90 miles southwest of Colorado Springs to detect pulsars in deep space.This live-stream presentation was part of our virtual Cool Science Carnival Day for kids, the main event of the 2020 Colorado Springs Cool Science Festival. You can find more information at:https://www.coolscience.org/carnivalday.html

Posted by Colorado Springs Cool Science Festival on Saturday, October 10, 2020

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:

http://www.coolscience.org

DSES Pulsar Observing on September 12, 2020

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.

This is a summary of our observing results: http://dses.science/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/11-Pulsars-Observed-so-Far-9-12-20.pdf.

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.

Below is a photo narrative of the day’s work.

It was an excellent day’s work.

At the start of observations, we point to and observe a pulsar with a strong signal that we know we should be able to reliably receive and analyze. If we cannot detect it, that indicates something is wrong with our system. We would then troubleshoot rather than waste our time trying to observe. Here the antenna is pointing to a pulsar we use as a reference source, B0329+54. It is located in the circumpolar sky to our north, so it is always visible above the horizon for us.
Bill Miller, Rich Russel, and Bob Haggart starting observations in the Operations Trailer.
After we checked our equipment and processes, we tried looking for some pulsars that were relatively low on the horizon to our south. Objects that appear to the south are above the horizon only briefly. They rise in the southeast, as the Earth turns they continue to rise in a shallow arc above the southern horizon, then soon set in the south west. If we want to try to observe them, we have just a short window of time to find and track them. Being low on the horizon adds some bias errors and attenuation to the observations. At this session we didn’t succeed in observing any pulsars that were close to the southern horizon.
On this run, the display shows we did not get good data. The software is attempting to synchronize our data with an expected pulse period. In the top window display that is open, for good data we would expect to see clearly spiked peaks rising from a lower noise floor. And in the white rectangular box below that, we would expect to see a signal at that timing accumulate under such spikes. There is no pattern of periodic data. The white box to the right shows timing at the bottom with radio frequency at the side (going up). Because the pulsar signal is broad band (it is spread broadly over a wide range of frequencies), we would expect to see a continuous line of signal from bottom to top, across the frequencies. But we do not see that. (You can click this image to enlarge it.)

The two graphs in the center right tell us we don’t have a definitive measure of a pulse rate, and a steady change in pulse rate. The pulsars are generally slowing down with time, at a very slow but measurable pace. The display is showing the algorithms cannot fit a pattern. If it could, the two peaks would both be centered.
Our Operations Trailer
Our antenna site is surrounded by farm fields.
Rich and Bob are checking data for each next pulsar we attempt to observe. Besides the celestial coordinates, we need to know the expected energy flux. If the signal is weaker, we need to observe and track on the object for a longer period of time. We also need to know the expected pulse timing and several other parameters.
We have up in our control room a framed photo of Jocelyn Bell Burnell, contributed by Bob Haggart. She discovered pulsars serendipitously while she was a graduate student at Cambridge University in 1967.
Rich is assessing a good data set we just got. Here you can see the distinctive pulse timing spikes in the upper left. In the center white plot, you see two straight lines, representing the pulsed signal, across the spectrum of frequencies we observed (we observe across a bandwidth of 10 MHz). At the right, the software found a good analysis for the rate and change of rate of the pulses. The bottom plot slopes downward slightly to the right. That is showing us the dispersion of the signal, something we expect to see. As the pulsar radio signal travels through interstellar space, it has to go through dust and magnetic fields. The effect is that the longer the radio wavelength, the slower the signal will propagate through space. Therefore the longer wavelength signal will arrive slightly later than the shorter. This is an indirect measure of the distance to the pulsar. If the algorithm was just trying to make sense of random noise, we would not see this result in our data. (You can click this image to enlarge it.)
This is a close-up of our SYSTEM 1 software display for pointing our dish antenna. The antenna now can be pointed manually or with several levels of automation.

The first accomplishment was to translate the actual azimuth and elevation pointing angles of the antenna through encoders with digital readouts. That azimuth and elevation angles were then correlated with the celestial coordinates at the given time. That required a good timing reference, as well as an accurate fix on our longitude and latitude. We now take care of that timing and position fix with GPS.

The upper part of the screen shows the direction the antenna is aimed at, in both azimuth and elevation angles, and the celestial coordinates of Right Ascension (RA) and Declination. There is more on the right side that was added later which I will discuss shortly.

The next development was to have a visual reference of the celestial sky, with its coordinate grid system and celestial objects we are interested, displayed on the computer, together with where the antenna is pointing. You see that display in the lower half of the screen. How wide a beam angle our antenna can see (like the field of view you see in an optical telescope) depends on the wavelength of the radio waves we are using. At a wavelength of 70 centimeters (about 400 MHz frequency), the beam width is about 2 degrees for our dish antenna. At wavelength of 21 centimeters (about 1420 MHz where the spectral line of neutral hydrogen is), the beam width is about 0.8 degrees. The software calculates the appropriate beam width and shows that as a circle on the display.

Within the last three months, our software team succeeded in creating a system that will now automatically point and keep tracking a celestial object or any other sky position. As part of this package, the software has a database of celestial objects we may be interested to look at, with their celestial coordinates. The database is updatable. If an object we want is in our database, it will appear on our sky coordinates display, we can point to it with our cursor, and the antenna will slew to point to it and then track it. We can also enter data manually. The software and hardware have safety stops, so that the antenna cannot be pointed below a certain limit above the horizon. And the antenna has azimuth limits, so that our cables to the antenna feed in the pedestal don’t wrap around with too many turns. The software also is programmed to avoid direct pointing towards the sun.

Because it makes the display much more user friendly, the display shows the visible stars and constellations as well. (You can click the image to enlarge it.)
This screen is how we set our data parameters. And the display at lower left shows the signal coming in. The blue line is the data signal, across the bandwidth of 10 MHz, here centered at 420 MHz.

The green line shows the peak maximum of the signal over the course of the run. Earlier in the day we were seeing persistent radio signals, for us interference, at around 390, 406, 408, 410, and 432 MHz.
We were concerned that one possible cause of problems with some of our data was the sun being close in angle to our pointing. We were never closer than 25 degrees from the sun. But we are wondering if the sun still might heat our preamplifiers at the feed focus of the antenna.
The next set of photos are close-ups of the damage seen on the ham radio HF antennas. This is the tower with the 3-band Yagi. There is a slight tilt along the main boom.
7 radials at the multi-band vertical antenna were also damaged. 5 severed at the lugs, which suggests metal fatigue from repeated moving in the wind. 2 were severed in their middles, which suggests some debris may have impacted those from the winds.
Some of the fence damage by the bunker.
The bunker ramp filled with tumbleweed again.
Closeup of the 408 MHz feed and the feed mount at the focus of the 60 foot dish antenna.
A closeup of the display we now use for pointing the dish antenna for astronomical observing. At the upper right, we can acquire the celestial coordinates from our database, or we can manually type in the needed data. The lower part of that window shows the actions the control system is executing, that is if it is slewing to an object, tracking, holding steady, or something else. The lower display shows the celestial sky, the coordinates, our antenna beam, as well as naked eye objects and constellations.
The grain elevator in Haswell in the distance.