Archive | October 2009

Pyspec flux calibration

Something we haven’t done often enough, probably because we tend not to bother observing standard stars, is correct flux calibration with the [Wast Hills] data, however this is an issue when calculating winds from stars (e.g. P-Cygni). I think this is the only group over the past 5 years we have run that has attempted todo this and not with a proper standard star but Vega. It sort of worked, anyway the moral of the story is to take standard stars when observing then you can calibrate you data. I’ve put together a little tool (not integrated with pyspec yet) that does this… for more info see the [pyspec page].

flux calibrated data example

Organising FITS data

Over my years of teaching undergraduate astronomy labs I’ve seen many different ways that students save observational data, well its all FITS but the filename and extensions can vary. I’m intending to plough through the whole data archive of the University of Birmingham Observatory extracting spectra and photometry on the cleanish data. A simple solution when you get back from observing is to tell the students to simply rename the files, however, the archive (since I’ve been lazy when I made it) was just a compressed archive of all the raw data from the year (well source by source with all necessary calibration files). Of course I’m way too lazy to rename everything manually and so I’d like a little script todo this and to determine (since sometimes the students/staff don’t call bias frames etc or dark frames dark – I swear this is so illogical and I wonder how many hours can be wasted) what type of frame the observation was. This is actually pretty trivial todo using bash and grep and eventually I will building this into [pyspec]/[pyphot]… but for now here is the script: []

Mountain Lakes & Waterfalls

I meant to post this a while ago, just didn’t get around to it. While my better half was over visiting me in Calgary we went on a daytrip with [Brewster] (I’ve now been on two with them and I’d recommend them if you wanted to explore the rockies in a day) and thought I’d post a few of my favourite pic from the day out. Its also allowing me to remember days that were warm (it must have been around 30C when we went there, its currently -10C…!).
We went to Johnston Canyon, saw Castle Mountain (were we were told about [Eisenhower peak], tower shaped end of Castle Mountain.), saw Mount Temple (and the McDonald Glacier), drove alongside the Morant Curve (a view made famous by Nicholas Morant, who photographed the Rockies in the 1930s and 40s for the Canadian Pacific Railway and has the peaks of the Bow Range in the backgroud), Lake Louise, Lake Moraine, Kicking Horse pass (and the spiral tunnels), the natural bridge, emerald lake and into Yoho National park to see the Takkakaw Falls.
Johnston Canyon:
Johnston Canyon waterfall large
Castle Mountain:
castle mountain mosaic
castle mountain
Morant Curve:
Morant curve
Lake Louise:
lake louise and mountains
lake louise and Bow Range mountains
Kicking horse pass spiral tunnels (shame there wasn’t a train going through):
kicking horse pass spiral tunnels in and out entrances
Natural Bridge:
Natural Bridge
Emerald Lake in BC:
Emerald Lake in BC
Takkakaw Falls:
Takkakaw Falls
Takkakaw Falls rainbow
A video of the Takkakaw Falls:
in Banff:
Walking towards the mountains
banff manhole cover
More photos (if you are inclined) from the day can be found in [my flickr set for the day]

Pyphot version 1 released

I’ve released the [first version of Pyphot] – a bash/python image analysis script that uses sextractor to extract sources and complete photometry. Its still very much in its infancy and is currently really only designed to deal with basic data taken at the [University of Birmingham Observatory], I’m hoping after I’ve had a few users try it to add enhancements and make it robust (so that any instrument data can be thrown at it…).
This follows the first version of [Pyspec] which has now had some enhancements to it and has been tested on a number of machines now… it also now includes some idiot proofing 😀

Pyspec version 0 released

I’ve released the [first version of Pyspec] – a python spectroscopy tool that I’ve written . Its still very much in its infancy and is currently really only designed to deal with basic data taken at the [University of Birmingham Observatory], I’m hoping after I’ve had a few users try it to add enhancements and make it robust (so that any instrument data can be thrown at it…). Essentially it is released to start this… if you want to use it please do so, but if you do I’d appreciate hearing off you and getting feedback. Here is an example plot:

calibrated data example

Hanna and Dorothy, AB

Today I went on my first “flickr meet” with the [Calgary group]. We headed off to the small town of Hanna, well primarily the derelict Roundhouse and then to the A&W (for those that haven’t experienced Canada that’s a fast-food restaurant chain). The roudhouse was pretty cool with lots of different material to work with (though it was bloody cold, lets just say I’m going to turn into an icicle over the winter here)…
Lets start with a mosaic of the site…
Hanna Roundhouse Mosaic
Inside it was pretty eerie, as if people had just left their cars and ran from the impending disaster which didn’t happen just neglect…
Looks like my kind-of ride
spare tire
One side of the building had collapse leaving wood everywhere…
Wood, wood everywhere
…the world is destroyed so where am I walking to..
the world is destroyed so where am I walking to
.. the use of military action (in the form of paintballs) was obvious:
Paintball strike
After a nice veggie burger at A&W we headed onto the ghost town (well almost) of Dorothy (I’m wondering what’s with all the girls names…) which I think is in the Canadian Badlands (no I’m not being a Cardassian… if you don’t know what that means then that’s fine to be confused, I’m thinking of one person in particular).
Downtown Dorothy…
Dorothy Mosaic
Dorothy Catholic Church, originally built in 1912 as a School, became a church 1944, last mass October 22, 1967…
Dorothy Catholic Church
Dorothy population 2 number of Churches 2… a divided community?
Dorothy population 2 number of Churches 2... a divided community?
Dorothy Catholic church from t'other church
Dorothy has some high tech security systems…
the defence of Dorothy
Danger do not dig!
Of course, however, it does have a grain elevator from the days of population…
Stump and Dorothy Grain Elevator
Oh and we stopped off to look at some hoodoos on the way back…
The full set of images I took can be found on my flickr account under [Hanna & Dorothy]