Excitement of Science 2009

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All Systems Go for Radio Obs

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1 All Systems Go for Radio Obs on Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:13 am

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Schools' registered teachers should now have received their own unique username, password and patch of sky, by email, to enable them to commence their observations using the 7m telescope at Jodrell Bank.

Best of luck!

Mike

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2 Radio observations on Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:09 am

Hi all,

I see the first few people have had a go at observing already. Keenness award goes to e092 and e035!

Of course this meant they were guinea pigs! The first observation fell over at the end and this brought down the second observation - oh well best laid plans - remember this is real science.

I also spotted that our skymap wasn't running when they did their observations - oops!

Stuart who wrote this bit of the system is in Trieste (working on the Planck spacecraft mission) and can't fix it till he gets back to his hotel where his mobile internet can bypass the over-enthusiastic firewall at the University there. That bit should be up and running again later today assuming Stuart is successful.

Having said all that the first succcessful observaton has completed - a scan at galactic longitude 200. You can see the first bit of the skymap at

http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/distance/observatory/data/eos-radiosky.html

have fun, we'll keep an eye on things and keep you posted.

All the best,

Tim

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3 Re: All Systems Go for Radio Obs on Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:41 am

"The first observation fell over at the end"

How do you mean "fell over" and by any chance was that the e092 observation? If so, what does that mean for the observation? If anything.

Well done for getting it up and running.=)

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4 What, no slewing? on Tue Mar 03, 2009 1:41 pm

So, all galactic co-ords entered. Monitor and web cam launched. Eager eyes watching until slot-start time (20.30) Status 3! Great.

However, motors are off and, on the schedule, all the previous slots are still status 3.

What do we do now?

PS Great fun all the same

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5 Re: All Systems Go for Radio Obs on Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:18 pm

Id noticed that as well socrates... Looking at the monitor though, it said it was being locally controlled using AZEL co-ordinates which our group thinks is a series of telescopes being used professionally, so im not sure what happened..

Don't worry though, we messed our first go up by pointing too vertically at our location.

I would just wait till its running again and have another shot then...

However, I have some questions of my own.

1) Can we use the other scans as well as the Excitement of science named scan.

2) Now that we have some data (even though it cut off with 5 degrees left) what do we do, just look at it and make conclusions? or is there something else we could be doing as well...

3) Is it possible to do more than 1 scan in a row, if we booked say 3 or 4 time slots?

Thanks,

Good luck all who are also doing this =)

e092

p.s As a reminder to any school that books a time slot, you need to go to the schedule page and submit it before the time slot, else it doesnt work....

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6 Rather windy! on Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:16 pm

Hi all,

We can do radio astronomy 24 hours a day (the sky is dark at radio wavelengths even during the day). However the one thing that causes us most trouble is high wind. When a telescope is tipped over the wind exerts a huge force on the dish which acts like a giant sail. In fact a common nightmare for our telescope controllers is that they're on duty and the Lovell Telescope gets blown down! (Could actually happen).

Anyway it's been very windy this evening so our telescopes have been parked pointing straight up. Which is why the 7-metre was offline earlier with its motors off. You can check the status of all our other telescopes at http://www.jodrellbank.manchester.ac.uk/live/

Actually it's quite rare for us to have to park telescopes so it's all go for your first day of observation :-)

If anything like that happens and an observation fails to happen, just reschedule it. (Occasionally we may redo your observation for you but I think it's important you do it yourselves to have a go).

Anyway I see the wind has dropped and the telescope is back online so you could resubmit the observation.

Note if any observation starts it becomes status 3 in the Schedule list, but if it fails to finish (and change to status 4) then it just sits there in the Schedule. This is so we all know it didn't complete and we can reschedule it. after a while I usually go in and delete old ones so the Schedule doesn't end up looking too messy.

I'll post some more info about what to do next with these observations in a few days once others have had a chance to get going on it and the map starts to build up.

BTW AZEL means Azimuth and Elevation - these are the coordinates on the sky, Azimuth around the horizon and elevation above the horizon.

That's it for now I think!

All the best,

Tim

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7 Other questions on Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:33 pm

Sorry, forgot to answer those other questions...

1) Can we use the other scans as well as the Excitement of science named scan.

Well you can if you like but might be good to hold fire for a bit. I plan to provide a bit of info on doing that when we've got a bit farther with the special EoS scans and the radio sky image builds up a little farther.

However if you're champing at the bit you could do a "21cm Spectral Line Observation - Simple" pointing at galactic coordinates longitude=120, latitude=0, with integration time 120s. This will show you a spectrum of atomic hydrogen in that direction. You'll see several peaks, each of which is a spiral arm of the Milky Way. See
http://webmail.jb.man.ac.uk/distance/observatory/Generic_Exercise2.pdf
for some backgroud on what it all means (note the Simple observation setup hides a few of the extra details referred to in this document)

I'd prefer if you didn't do all the exercises in this document as it will take time away from other schools completing the EoS observations.

2) Now that we have some data (even though it cut off with 5 degrees left) what do we do, just look at it and make conclusions? or is there something else we could be doing as well...


Try your other longitude?

I've divvied up the range 10 to 240 degrees between everybody (including some overlap so we get multiple scans of the same bit of sky). At some point we will look to extend the scan to go outside the range of 10 degrees either side. keen shcools could help here. I just need to check that the live radio sky plotting program will handle this so hold off a bit until I'm sure we're ok on that.


3) Is it possible to do more than 1 scan in a row, if we booked say 3 or 4 time slots?

Each scan is scheduled separately in however many slots you assign it. You can always schedule two scans straight after each other. However, bear in mind that if the two pointing positions are widely separated on the sky there is a significant time taken to slew the telescope around (slew is a bit of jargon meaning move!). This can result in an observation failing to complete before the next one starts.

Hope that all makes sense,

Tim

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8 Re: All Systems Go for Radio Obs on Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:36 am

Cheers Tim,

Thanks for taking the time to explain!

e092

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9 keep to your own bit of space on Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:15 pm

i was looking at the shedual and notaced that e070 had tryed to scan our aria (120,0) please can every one stik to there own peice of the sky

sorry to nag but it seems important

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10 Re: All Systems Go for Radio Obs on Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:37 am

George, I read somewhere on the site that that is a deliberate overlap when they split the sky up into areas. I should have told you last night, sorry....

[quote]
I've divvied up the range 10 to 240 degrees between everybody (including some overlap so we get multiple scans of the same bit of sky).[/quote]

Glad to see you on here though.

Also, yesterday, we tried to d a scan of our second co-ordinates, 204,0 , but the telescope got stuck with 113 seconds left and it didn't finish when I last checked at 8 ish last might. On the schedule, that scan, and the spec scan after it are still status 3. Its not a huge, problem, but I;m just curious as to what happened.

Any enlightenment welcomed, =)

e092

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11 Re: All Systems Go for Radio Obs on Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:42 am

Hi all

Now that everybody has had a reasonable chance to have a go at the observations I think the time is approaching when active groups get other bits of sky handed over to them from inactive groups. This will ensure the sky gets covered and rewards the active groups. I'l have a look at who's been active and suggest new strips of sky to be observed by them. I'll ask Mike to email you direct.

re the question about why observations don't complete, it's usually one of the following things:

1. The part of the sky being observed becomes inaccessible because it has set below the horizon.

2. The part of the sky being observed gets too close to teh zenith which means the telescope can't rotate quickly enough to track it through the zenith (the point directly overhead).

3. The part of the sky being observed becomes inaccessible because the telescope hits its cable wrap limits (the telescope can't rotate indefinitely in one direction because the cables would snap!) and it has to head off all the way round the sky in the opposite direction.

4. Your scan hadn't quite finished and somebody else had scheduled an observation which begins and cuts off the end of your observation.

5. Something goes wrong with the telescope or the wind speed gets up so the telescope is parked (both unlikely to be honest).

It's not really possible for me to tell which of thos it was after the event but it might be possible for you to tell if you are watcging while the observation happens.

In any case, just have a think about it and resubmit.

Cheers
Tim

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12 Re: All Systems Go for Radio Obs on Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:34 am

Thank you for clearing that up, Tim

Im guessing that some bad timing and bad luck meant that a few of our scans were rotating the telescope too far which is why our scans were not completing.

We tried to be careful about our timings so that they were in the accesible part of the sky, but sometimes accidents happen.

Anyway weve been taking a look at our data, and apart from the largely varying temperature scales, its fairly consistent, so weve been able to make a few conclusions for ourself.

We'll also be hopefully expecting some more areas of the sky to look at and then we can really start to draw some conclusions =)

Can't wait to go optical as well.

Cheers,
e092

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13 Re: All Systems Go for Radio Obs on Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:28 pm

I was just wondering, will there be any other inclusion of the 7m telescope other than the first two coordinates we have been given. If so what is it and have there been any updates I have missed because people have been mentioning a second set and my school entered quite late so updates may have happened in that time

Thanks ^^

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