RASC Prince George Centre Observatory

RASC Prince George Centre Observatory (aka Prince George Astronomical Society) is located on Tedford Road in Prince George. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of astronomy and science in Prince George and the neighbouring Northern Canadian communities.

RASC Prince George Centre employs three methods of meteor detection

 

DETECTION USING AN FM CARRIER FREQUENCY


The RASC Prince George Centre has implemented a meteor detection project using information obtained from the Sky Scan Science Awareness Project and a program called Radio-SkyPipe. Two FM automobile radios tuned to 98.7 MHz, a Yagi antenna, and a Quadrifilar Helicoidal antenna, enable us to collect data and present it here in graph form.

Latest Radio-SkyPipe data

 

DETECTION USING A TV CARRIER FREQUENCY

The RASC Prince George Centre Observatory has associated itself with the International meteor detection organization called Radio Meteor Observatories On Line. Using the programs Spectrum Lab and Colorgramme RMOB lab, along with an ICOM IC-PCR1000 receiver tuned to Channel 3 video carrier frequency 61.240 MHz, we are able to collect data and present it here. Meteor activity on the left is in graph form for a 24 hour period. Data in the right hand box accumulates during the month and is colour based with blue signifying zero activity. Colours approaching red signify increased activity.

 

DETECTION USING AN ALLSKY VIDEO SYSTEM

RASC camera

The following image is the latest real time capture from the AllSky camera installed at the RASC Prince George Centre Observatory. This camera has a 180 degree field of view. North is up, West is to the right.

North Island College

Established in 1975, North Island College is now comprised of four campuses and four centres covering an area that includes northern Vancouver Island and the BC mainland coast from Desolation Sound to Swindle Island. The college offers over 800 courses and programs in health care, trades, business, fine arts, tourism, and university studies.

North Island College has a unique tie to Tatla Lake Elementary/Jr. Secondary School. With the assistance of the Tatlayoko Think Tank and others, an astronomical dome and telescope were installed on the school grounds.

The first observatory to be accessible via the internet in British Columbia, it is used by students of North Island College as part of the Space Science and Astronomy:Introduction to Deep Space Astronomy course.

Shane Observatory

Shane Observatory employs three methods of meteor detection

DETECTION USING AN FM CARRIER FREQUENCY

The Shane Observatory has implemented a meteor detection project using information obtained from the Sky Scan Science Awareness Project and a program called Radio-SkyPipe. Two FM automobile radios tuned to 98.7 MHz, a Yagi antenna, and a Quadrifilar Helicoidal antenna, enable us to collect data and present it here in graph form.

Current Radio-SkyPipe data

Current Radio-SkyPipe data

 

DETECTION USING A TV CARRIER FREQUENCY

The Shane Observatory has associated itself with the International meteor detection organization called Radio Meteor Observatories On Line. Using the programs Spectrum Lab and Colorgramme RMOB lab, along with an ICOM IC-PCR1000 receiver tuned to Channel 3 video carrier frequency 61.240 MHz, we are able to collect data and present it here. Meteor activity on the left is in graph form for a 24 hour period. Data in the right hand box accumulates during the month and is colour based with blue signifying zero activity. Colours approaching red signify increased activity.

 

DETECTION USING AN ALLSKY VIDEO SYSTEM

Shane camera

The following image is the latest real time capture from the AllSky camera installed at the Shane Observatory. This camera has a maximum 180 degree field of view. North is up, West is to the right.

Latest AllSky camera capture

RDL Observatory

Good Day All

This Observatory is somewhat active in visual astronomy however realistically I live in BC. This location has less than 68 days a year that are suitable for visually seeing and looking at stars.

Because of the reduced number of viewing days I first “Migrated to Simple Radio Astronomy Techniques” Namely a automotive FM radio tuned to a non used channel. in my case 98.7mhz.  A simple homemade antenna, and a software program called Radio Sky Pipe which using your PC and Windows generated and recorded a strip chart. Used for a few years perhaps 4 or so reactivated last week.

The next step up was to look at a form of passive radar.  Equipment used here differs from simple to more extensive and sophisticated radios ones, that are stable and will tune to television visual carrier frequencies.  Again using purpose written software “SpecLab”, the sound card of a PC, a simple antenna completes this project.

The above system uses a target TV station that is ~ 1500 km from the receiving site.  In my case the target is on the Saskatchewan/ Manitoba border. As the meteor enters the earths atmosphere at  105 to 95 km a plasma trail is generated which the target signal reflects off of giving me a characteristic ping the software decodes and presents it on a chart that is archived, it also generates a comma delimited file ready for importing in to spread sheets and other software programs. Because of a vary flaky internet connection to European areas I do not upload data to the RMOB site but submit data monthly to it for archival purposes.

Also on the active research list is the operation of two All Sky Cameras.  The first on line in the year 2005. A home built system comprised firstly of a PC164 camera, a Rainbow wide angle lens. and a  capture card. Tried many different software programs none being useful. Until attending a SSSP Star Party where Garry Dymond presented a discussion group with UFO Capture Software.  This was the Key to a successful capture program.  System has been revamped several time with up grades and changes. Latest configuration is Watec 902h u camera, a ADVC 55 digital video Converter. Dell GA280 computer plus the original purchased UFO capture software.

Next on line is a Sandia Sentinel system installed and operational about 4 months ago. It is the Sandia Mark IV configuration using a Sony 1/2″ camera, Rainbow lens, internal capture card, purpose written software and a Dell GA270 computer.  This system is coming along well.

Currently there is a 3.5 meter dish with a 9 element yagi antenna as a pick up point feeding a Icom PCR1000 radio on channel 67 with Radio Sky Pipe software ( in power ) detection mode attempting to detect Cassiopeia.  Also using Radio Eyes  Authored by Jim Sky  who is the author of Radio Sky Pipe software mentioned earlier. Results have been terrible so far.

73 wayne ve7duc

 

 

 

 

ABMO Radio Page

ABMO Radio Page

Latest radio meteor echoes from W Kelowna, B.C.

Highest none shower counts are at local sunrise and the lowest are at sunset.

Introduction

The observatory is located in West Kelowna and it uses the forward scatter technique of meteor echo detection. The receiver is tuned to TV channel 4’s video carrier frequency (negative offset) at 64.240 MHz. The echoes are from the video carriers of the two station listed below:

 

Station QTH Bearing km kW
CITL-TV Lloydminster, AB 56 770 130
CBKT-1 Moose Jaw, SK 81 975 100

 

When a meteor has the proper geometry between the transmitting TV station and the receiving station an echo is produced as the receiver as the signal is reflected off the ionized plasma produce while the meteor ablates in the earth’s upper atmosphere. The ionization usually occurs between 110 down to 60 km up, thus giving a radio coverage out to about 1400 km radius of the receiver.

The station consist of an Icom PCR-1000 to a seven element log periodic antenna. The antenna is installed in the attic and pointing 70 degrees or towards the northeast. A fifty foot piece of RG-58 coax connects the antenna to the receiver. No pre-amps are used. The PCR-1000 is a software controlled receiver; a small black box with only an on and off switch on the front.

ICOM PCR-1000

 

In the back of the PCR-1000 are:

BNC Antenna connector, a ground post, DC Input, Audio Out, a RS-238 connector for communication with the computer, and a special 9600 bps audio filtering bypass for high speed digital packet radio used on amateur built satellites (AMSAT).

Pin outs of the ICOM PCR-1000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the major showers the observatory employs several different programs on several different computers on the LAN. Audio is split off the PCR-1000 as seen above (Y-adapter audio out) and shared among the computers during the showers. Alternatively, I use a second receiver, the ICOM R-8500 that runs in parallel with the PCR-1000 but on a different frequency, and run the audio from it to separate computer for real time analysis.

If a shower is predicted to show once in a lifetime activity I will also run an ICOM IC-746 transceiver. I usually devote the IC-746 to listening to 40.530 MHz, the US SNOTEL meteor system. SNOTEL has two master stations (transmitters) located in Utah and in Idaho which put in strong meteor burst signals into BC.

R8500 bottom and IC-746 middle HF homemade transceiver on top

 

The software does the actual detection, counting, data filing and display work.  Software in use includes Spectrum Lab, mAnalyzer, HROfft, all capable Windows programs. Watch for a software discussion in the Radio   Detection Basics in the Radio Methods section of the site. In addition to the above programs the observatory runs Janalyzer and a self written code. Which program is used is dependent on the subject understudy or nature of the shower.

Note: I do run the above programs on both Windows XP and on Linux machines. To see how I run it on a Linux machine please go to the RMOB site and read the article. Janalyzer is written in Java so is cross platform ready.

I set my software to output data at ten minute periods and on the hour. Depending on what software is running, duration for each 10 minute and hourly interval is recorded along with signal strengths in several bins of approximately 10 dB, 20 dB, 30 dB, and greater than 30 dB. Total time in seconds per period for each power level is also recorded.

A FFT spectrogram for each five minute period is ftp to an external site as well as saved on a local hard drive for study later or for the correlation with video fireballs

To be continued…

 

 

 

ABMO General Information

The Archambeau-Brower Memorial Observatory in West Kelowna

Lat 49.84695 N Long 119.55908 W

Welcome to the Archambeau-Brower Memorial Observatory located in West Kelowna. The observatory employs both a radio and video systems for the detection of meteors.

In addition to the meteor gear the observatory also has a Meade LX200, 0.254 meter Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope that operates in a robot mode.

To view the my radio page please click here.

To view the my video page please click here.

My live home weather station data can be found here.

Astronomy weather forecast for this observatory:

Current status at ABMO
Radio Detection is ON
Video Detection is armed for Sunset + 25 minutes to sunrise - 25 minutes
LX200 Robot is OFF
VLF is OFF