Hands On Universe Workshop Links

links to participants in the Pacific Northwest HOU workshop (July 27-31, 1998)

links to participants in the Yorktown, NY HOU workshop 
(August 3 -7, 1998 and August 10-12, 1999)

links to Fayetville, NC HOU workshop (July 23-27, 2001)
Hands On Universe main page


Hands On Universe 2009 Conference         Agenda         Documents

2008  HOU Conference
2007 HOU Conference
2006 HOU Conference
2005 HOU Conference

Table of contents

        1) help with Browser units
            a) Browser's Guide
            b) Measuring Size
            c) Measuring Brightness
            d) Measuring Distance

        2) help with image requesting
           how to find the observing window using star charts

        3) downloading the new HOU RSI software  expired
        4) ok, so where do i go to get other image processing software ?

        5) other random stuff i wrote
            how astronomers find invisible objects: detecting extrasolar planets and black holes
           deciphering the cosmic background radiation  (still in progress)
            a short summary of stellar evolution

        6) FITS image stuff
                a) how to download and decompress .fth images  (this may now be irrelevant with
                       the new HOU image  database)
           b) a Dos program to convert a 32-bit FITS image as a 16-bit FITS image is here
                c) FITS radio images from NRAO

        7) telescope and CCD stuff

        8) HOU workshop/tra stuff

            a) 5-day workshop outline
            b) requesting passwords for workshop participants  expired?
            c) HOU pretest

        9) Year 2 activities:

           a) the HOU asteroid research project

                I have written a procedure for calculating the distance to an asteroid based on two
                observations of the asteroid; however, it is presently unchecked

           b) HOU searching for supernovae research project

           c) parallax activities (finding the distance to an object using trig)

                (1) the parallax of an asteroid as seen from Earth  (credit to Rich Lohman)

                (2)  finding the distance to Pluto

                     Pluto image archive at HOU (use the big square images done on the yerkes 24)
                     ephemeris for planet positions

                     summary of my method of determining distance to pluto from 2002 images

                (3) measuring the parallax of a nearby object ( hands-on activity, not image processing)
                (credit to Rich Lohman)

           d) HR diagrams of  the open clusters NGC 6939 and M67 and M16
                (NGC6939 is the one Dane, Kevin, Ralph and I worked out at Berkeley in '98;
                 M67 is from 2000)

                see also (f) below

                Jeff Sweet's students' analysis of M11

                a number of clusters which may never have been analyszed are at  the Faulkes Telescope website

           e) activities involving determination of a revolution/rotation period
                (as in use of Jupiter's satellites to find the mass of Jupiter)

                (1) find the rotation period of the sun with FITS images from UCLA ;
                    the images open with both the new IDL (2002) and old HOU software

                   the Portuguese Astronomical Observatory at the Universidade de Coimbra has an archive of solar images
                      (jpeg only) every day in Halpha , K1-V, and K3 filters from 2000 to 2007 (more are in progress?).....
                      the site is in Portuguese, so you may need Google Translate

              (2) saturn's satellites: the mass of saturn

                     Saturn  image archive at HOU (use the big square images done on the yerkes 24;
                        images exist from 01/12/02 - 02/28/02)
                     saturn satellite viewer: renders a diagram of where saturn's moons are given the time and date
                        so that you can figure out which satellite is which in an image

                      Jeff Sweet's students' analysis of Mass of Saturn

f) other sources of images usable by HOU image processors:

                (1) a whole bunch of labs with FITS images included from RAAP at UCSB;
                      includes instructions; some images are 8-bit and work with the old HOU software;
                      some are not and need the converteror use of the new HOU-IDL 2002 software

                (2) Iowa Remote Telescope Facility (IRTF) has FITS images (use with HOU IDL-2002 software only)
                        in conjunction with projects (including instructions) such as H-R diagrams (13 clusters with images in
                        at least 2 colors)...

                        the images needed are available for various activities are available by ftp

                         this site seems to have disappeared

                (3) Sloan Digital Sky Survey has FITS images of star, galaxy, and quasar spectra (but I haven't figured out
                        how to make them work with HOU, though); this site is still very cumbersome to use, although there are
                        some nice astronomy projects using the .gif versions of the spectra and sdss's colors (in 5 different bands)
                        for stars and galaxies

                      H-R diagram of globular cluster Pal 5 using SDSS (credit to Rob Sparks)  (this activity doesnt use HOU software)

              (4) 113-galaxy catalog of fits images (readable by HOU) in G (green = visual),  R (red), and I (infrared) filters
                        (also available are 3-color jpg images of the galaxies

             (5) the Faulkes telescope website has an increasing number of image processing activities (using the ImageJ or SalsaJ processor)

                   a) H-R diagrams of star clusters



             (6) the NOAO site has a variety of activities (generally using ImageJ processor)

                   a) HR diagrams of star clusters (M26, NGC6633, IC4665)
                   b) AGN (active galactic nuclei) spectroscopy

                   c) nova search in Andromeda Galaxy

                   d) Evolution of Sunspots: Changes in Morphology and Magnetic Fields

                   e) spectroscopy of variable giant stars  (RV Tauri stars)

             (7) I've written some activities that use Chandra x-ray images using ds-9:

                   a) Introduction to Image Processing

                   b)  the spectra of supernova remnants

             (8) Hands On Universe Europe; uses ImageJ or SalsaJ


                   b) exoplanet Doppler shift exercise
                         (requires measurement of 11 spectra to get doppler shifts, radial velocities)

                   c)  a lesson and exercise on Spectra;  uses SpectraJ plug-in to ImageJ;
                         used to determine relative ages of 3 clusters in the SMC based on their ratios of type B/A stars to K/M stars

                   d) distances to galactic Cepheids

             (9) the Kepler site has a transiting exoplanet image-processing activity

            (g) collateral activities that do not use image processing software

                (1)  Determining the Extragalactic Distance Scale, an activity using the M100 Cepheid data
                        from Hubble (referred by Glenn Reagan)

                (2) some activities from NRAO  (credit to Tim Spuck and Sue Ann Heatherly)

  • the radio moon
  • age of the universe with radio galaxies

    extra links for Browser's Guide to the Universe Unit 
    from the Finding Features book

        Browser 1 =  a crater, Albategnius (named after  Al-Battani) on the Moon;
        you determine its diameter in a Measuring Size activity (pages 48-49 in the old books;
        pages 41-42 in the new books);
        how big do you think it is?

        Browser 2 = Jupiter and 3 of the Galilean moons:
               Ganymede and Europa are the two that are almost touching;
               Io is on the other side of Jupiter
               Callisto is not visible and is off the edge of the image on the Io side

        Browser 3 =  a total solar eclipse

                        the last total eclipse of the 20th century ran through Europe and Asia on August 11, 1999
               2001 eclipses and 2002 eclipses

        Browser 4 =  M57  =  Ring Nebula

                         M57 was the Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD) on: July 27, 1995

                         M57 is an example of a planetary nebula; the dying gasp of a low-mass star

                        to learn more about planetary nebulas, visit the  Planetary Nebulae Home Page
                        or   Hubble Space Telescope gallery of  planetary nebulas

        Browser 5 = M100

                         M100 was the APOD on  June 6, 1998   when Hubble was "fixed" in 1995,
                        the first image  released was that of M100; see it "before" and "after"

        Browser 6 = NGC 3034 = M82

                        M82 was the APOD on  March 15, 1998   it's an unusual starburst galaxy

        Browser 7  =  M1  =  Crab Nebula   the remnant of a supernova that exploded on July 4, 1054

                        M1 was the APOD on February 8, 1998

                        if you have an MPEG viewer, you can watch Crab Nebula, the movie

                        Hubble Peered into the Heart of the Crab Nebula on June 1 2000


    Measuring Size book

    how I organize the teaching of the "Measuring Size" unit:

    symbol used type of "size" (units)

    measured diameter (pixels) plate scale:
    conversion of measured diameter to angular diameter in arcseconds
    angular diameter (seconds of arc) unit conversion
    angular diameter
    (from arcseconds to radians)
    angular diameter (radians)
    small angle formula:
    conversion of 
    angular diameter (in radians) to linear  diameter 

    linear diameter (m, km, c-yr)

        what's angular diameter?

        coming soon

        plate scale:  how to find it (for a given image)

        1) a) it's given in the image header (in Image Info under Data Tools)
            b) it's given in the HOU activity
            c) it's given in another HOU activity that was produced with the same telescope/CCD combination

        2) figure it out because you recognize some object (Jupiter, Sun) in the image whose
            angular size you know (because you can look it up) and  whose measured diameter
            you can measure on the image (in pixels)

        3) calculate it from first principles (HOU wouldn't really expect you to do this!), but you can
            learn how to do it here if you know the CCD linear size and the telescope's focal length

        conversion of angular units

        the 4 units of angular diameter (or angular size) that might be encountered in HOU activities
        are degrees, arcseconds (also "), arcminutes (also '), and radians

        1 degree  =  60 arcminutes ( = 60 ' )  =  3600 arcseconds ( = 3600 " )

        a full circle  =  360 degrees  =  2 p  radians

        combining the above 2 lines,   1 radian  =  206,265 arcseconds

        radians is probably the only unit that will need some introduction:
        see Supplementary Activity 6 in the Measuring Size book

    small angle formula

        coming soon

    Measuring Distance book

            my syllabus for the "Measuring Size" unit:

            inverse square law  (in Measuring Distance book; Determining Distance
                    or Luminosity using Apparent Brightness Unit; page 23)

               a java applet  which allows you to place a detector at different distances
                        from a light source in order to determine how light flux depends on
                        distance from the source

                        with 2 small squares of parrafin, a piece of aluminum foil, & a meter stick,
                        you can measure the Luminosity of the Sun, using inverse square law principles

    Measuring  Brightness book

        my syllabus for Measuring Brightness

        how supernovas work

            [in Measuring Brightness book; pp. 37-41 (old books); pp. 27-31 (new books)]
            a short Introduction to Supernovae
            Supernovae Taxonomy and Classification
            or go to NASA where you have a choice of lower- or higher-level discussion of Supernovae

    help with image requesting

                HOU Object Requesting page

               NGC/IC Observing List Generator

               Calculating Exposure Times

               Specifications of HOU Telescopes (plate scale, field of view, etc.)

                the Messier Catalog:ClustersNebulaeGalaxies

               The NASA Astrophysics Data System Home Page    search for published papers

               NED = NASA Extragalactic data base   for coordinate calculations
                                                                                and much other info

    how to find the observing window (for what's visible tonight 
    at the observatory) using the star charts

            1-page document in html (with links to diagrams of the celestial
                coordinate system and definitions of RA and dec)

            1-page document in MS-Word rtf

    how to download compressed (*.fth extensions) images 
    & then convert them to uncompressed images

            1-page document in html (with links to the decompression software and compressed images)

            1-page document in MS-Word rtf

             by the way, if you are using the Mac version of the software, the decompression is done
                    automatically  by the software

    CCD Stuff

    how I organize teaching about CCDs and how they work

                        (1) acquiringthe raw CCD image

                                    how a CCD works; why use a CCD;
                                    how the choice of a telescope, filter, exposure time, etc. determines the number of "counts" measured in each pixel element

                        (2) calibrating the CCD image

                                    how to get a calibrated image from the raw image, the flat field, the dark field, & the bias field

                        (3) displaying the CCD image

                                    how to bring out detail in various parts of the image by judicious selection of scaling
                                    (selecting the Max/Min; log vs linear), color palette, smoothing filters, etc.

                        (4) measuring/interpreting the CCD image

                                    how to get results that can be compared with those of other astronomers:
                                    standard stars; removing "the sky"; determination of magnitude

                        a talk I gave in Jan 99 on CCDs and Image Processing contains links to CCD web pages and reading material;
                        it also contains links to other image processing programs (generally not free), and to other image processing activities (these are free!)....
                        the talk also contains some of the info in the above list

    useful astronomy applets

                 1)    blackbody spectrum applet

                 2)   spectrum applet that has 7 observed (and messy) stellar spectra and allows user to match theoretical bb curves to observations

                 3)   spectrum explorer  applet

                 4)   Doppler effect applet

                 5)  spectroscopic binary  applet

                 6)  eclipsing binary  applet

                 7) applet on rotation curves of galaxies and dark matter

                 8) Galaxy Crash applet  (simulates galaxy collisions)

                         a Faulkes telescope exercise using this simulation

                 9) Cosmology applet (plots lookback time, age & size of universe as a function of redshift)

                 10) Where is M13?  (3-D locations of astronomical objects in the Milky Way)

                 applet collections  

                 1) Case Western Reserve collection

                 2) University of Oregon collection

                 3) CLEA collection at Gettysburg

                 4) PHET collection at Colorado

                 5) McGraw Hill Interactives  less robust than Phet, but a greater vareity

    education & public outreach of observatories/satellites

                 1) Hubble

                 2) Chandra

                 3) Spitzer

                 4) Sofia

                 5) Kepler

                 6) SETI

                 7) Fermi/GLAST