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HiMARC Progress Report: August 8, 2012

August 08, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Screen shot 2012-08-29 at 11.25.58 AM

HiMARC Project Research Page

General updates:

HiMARC ground testing and development are proceeding according to schedule. Weekly updates detailing our progress will be posted on this blog weekly. Each imaging session and update will be available through an RSS feed, while previous research notes, data and files will be posted here first.

Our primary goals remain unchanged from the SOW. This summer, we are collaborating with NASA Ames MDD for immediate development, design and testing of our ground telescope system. Our deliverables include high‐resolution images of the International Space Station and celestial targets beyond our existing results using Atmospheric Lensing (AL) and the equipment provided to us by the MDD. The optics team will use Zemax software and MATLAB to refine the asymmetric optical train and simulate DAPPER performance for subdiffraction super resolution. Completed CAD models will be delivered and prepared for mirror fabrication of future prototypes. The AL eddy selection mask will be simulated in Zemax and refined from its current lenticular lens design for a future prototype fabrication. If budget and time permit, we will fabricate and implement the AL eddy selection mask. The image processing team will deliver part of the software to command the HiMARC imaging system for capturing and processing images automatically. Our goal is to increase the autonomy of the AL image processing algorithms and decrease processing time by an order of magnitude. 


Project schedule (recent):

17 JULY 2012, Stanford, CA – Invited talk on HiMARC at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.

26 JULY 2012, Stanford, CA – First imaging session using 14’’ SCT and new PtGrey cameras with full USB 3.0 bandwidth. Targets included Saturn, Mars and the Moon. Discovered we have a severe data storage problem with only an 80GB SSD onboard a temporarily purchased Macbook Air (attempts to off load the data resulted in a bus bottleneck). Purchased and built a RAID 5 array with USB 3.0 interface for the next session to solve this.

01 AUG 2012, Stanford, CA First imaging session with the new autoguider and RAID 5 USB 3.0 external array.

11-17 AUG 2012, Logan, Utah - HiMARC selected for student award presentation at SmallSat conference in Utah paper ref#- SSC12-VIII-1. Brian Mahlstedt and Ved Chirayath will be presenting new results from ground testing and the HiMARC CubeSat concept to a panel of judges for consideration in the Frank J. Redd student scholarship competition.

18-21 AUG 2012, Lassen National Park, CA – Four-night imaging marathon to test atmospheric lensing capability on extended objects with the 14’’ SCT and the FLI and PtGrey cameras from Pumpkin and NASA Ames MDD.

10-13 OCT 2012, Nagoya, Japan – HiMARC selected for presentation and publication for the UN/Japan NanoSat Symposium in Nagoya, Japan. Science paper due 15 August.


We are very grateful to the NASA Ames Director, Dr. Pete Worden, Matt Daniels, Dr. David Korsmeyer, Chad Frost, Creon Levit, Andrea Nazzal and all the folks at the MDD for your tremendous support of our research and helping develop new tools for the astronomical and small satellite communities. The HiMARC team is also grateful for the continued support from Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OPT) and Pumpkin Inc. for equipment loans and expertise. We look forward to continued collaboration!


Orion awesome autoguider tested and functional on 14’’ SCT on CGEPRO mount.Ved purchased PixInsight for image processing and batch scripting for atmospheric lensing development – it has a powerful wavelet toolbox, image registration and integration tools that have already helped reduce the processing time. PtGrey 3.2 MP mono and 8.2 MP color both functioning as expected though the read noise on the 8.2 MP seems higher than on the PtGrey spec. Discovered we have to switch to Mode 7 or 8 to record region of interests at higher than native frame rates (>200 fps). Still waiting on the Macbook Pro acquisition process to test atmospheric lensing to its full capability (Thank you Matt and Andrea!). Zemax software license needed for optical simulations. Powerpack arrived for remote imaging sessions.


26 July and 01 August session notes - Autoguider performed well, but there is no mounting kit to connect to the 14’’ SCT. Ashish and Lorenzo are making one for the next session. We tested the guider through the main scope and got stable tracking working using PHD autoguider software. Calibration data and periodic error measurements will be taken for future imaging sessions and looked fine this time around. RAID 5 USB 3.0 array has a driver issue and cannot function at USB 3.0 bandwidths on the Macbook Air in Windows (mac side is fine, but not compatible with image capture software). We are waiting on the Macbook Pro for larger onboard SSD storage.

Great control data acquired for Copernicus crater – still processing files now and should have new results shortly.

Theory & Paper:

UN/Japan NanoSat Symposium scientific paper due 15 August (will be forwarded along after submission and shared on the blog). There really should be three separate papers published – on the HiMARC design innovation, atmospheric lensing and DAPPER (asymmetrically enhanced maximum entropy deconvolution). I am currently working with a group of physicists in Varian on the latter and a mathematical proof and the Japan NanoSat paper includes the other two.

A toy demonstration of an unoptimized asymmetric pupil and corresponding diffraction pattern (courtesy Ashish):



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