Astrophysics Video Coming Soon!

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My Astrophysics Equipment

My Astrophysics Equipment

Okay folks, I know you been waiting for a video for a while and I’ve been lazy and working on my books and not producing one. I have an upcoming video about astrophysics that I helped put out for you pretty soon. In this video, I’ll be detecting various radio phenomena from space using my nuclear physics equipment. Depending on whether or not I ever get a clear night, I may also do a video on using a telescope to capture pictures of the stars. I’m also working on some software that will allow me to produce nice thermographic images of the sky. We shall see.

Seeing the Stars

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What a wonderful night it was tonight. It was one of the first good nights in a long time, previous nights being filled with high humidity and significant storms. I whipped out the Celestron 130 EQ telescope and pointed to the stars. While the moon was quite interesting as Saturn was just ever so slightly south of it, the real interest for me tonight was trying to find more Messier objects. Adding to my list, tonight I saw Messier object 29, which has been dubbed “the cooling tower”, though I’m not sure I can tell by looking at it why. Before leaving, I spotted the summer beehive cluster once more. I’m always impressed how amazing it looks on my 82° wide-angle lenses. It is my opinion that no astronomer amateur or otherwise should be without a wide-angle lens. I can’t even use my old ones is now.

List of objects I have seen this summer:
M29
M81
M82
Summer beehive cluster
m42
M5
Sigma & Epsilon lyrae Double and Quadruple Stars

What a wonderful summer.

X-Ray Flare Detected!

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X-Ray Flare from Sun

Starting at 4:53 AM ETD on 6/20 my x-ray detector started logging x-ray counts above background. The greatest single bin peak was σ5.5893771396, which is a valid detection by nearly anyone’s standards.

Event Start End Duration Max Sigma
Peak 1 4:53am 5:07:20AM 14:20 8.2CPS 5.5893771396 Max at 5:04:50 am
Peak 2 5:16am 5:18:10AM 2:10 7.3CPS 4.4363646686 Unknown
range 1 5:22am 5:50:10AM 28:10 7.7CPS 4.9488146557 Unknown

And then I lost power!!! Yes, my house lost power for a brief moment. The UCS30 and my entire gamma spectrum were shut off. My laptop continued recording the x-ray and Geiger counter readings, luckily. I may have had a nice gamma detection, but I will never know.

Correlating the x-rays with the Geiger counter, I found this:

Date/time Count (x-x̄)/σ
6/20/2015 12:53:39 AM 25 -0.1202088536
6/20/2015 12:54:39 AM 23 -0.5115865163
6/20/2015 12:55:39 AM 29 0.6625464719
6/20/2015 12:56:39 AM 32 1.2496129661 peak 1
6/20/2015 12:57:39 AM 27 0.2711688092
6/20/2015 12:58:39 AM 28 0.4668576406
6/20/2015 12:59:39 AM 38 2.4237459543
6/20/2015 1:00:39 AM 22 -0.7072753477
6/20/2015 1:01:39 AM 22 -0.7072753477
6/20/2015 1:02:39 AM 31 1.0539241347
6/20/2015 1:03:39 AM 33 1.4453017974
6/20/2015 1:04:39 AM 24 -0.3158976849
6/20/2015 1:05:39 AM 39 2.6194347857 Max reading from x-rays was1:04:50 am EDT
6/20/2015 1:06:39 AM 25 -0.1202088536
6/20/2015 1:07:39 AM 22 -0.7072753477
6/20/2015 1:08:39 AM 24 -0.3158976849
6/20/2015 1:09:39 AM 20 -1.0986530104

Date/time Count (x-x̄)/σ
6/20/2015 1:23:40 AM 27 0.2711688092
6/20/2015 1:24:40 AM 24 -0.3158976849
6/20/2015 1:25:40 AM 29 0.6625464719
6/20/2015 1:26:40 AM 17 -1.6857195046
6/20/2015 1:27:40 AM 31 1.0539241347
6/20/2015 1:28:40 AM 38 2.4237459543
6/20/2015 1:29:40 AM 34 1.6409906288 These occur during Range 1
6/20/2015 1:30:40 AM 31 1.0539241347
6/20/2015 1:31:40 AM 33 1.4453017974
6/20/2015 1:32:40 AM 32 1.2496129661
6/20/2015 1:33:40 AM 27 0.2711688092
6/20/2015 1:34:40 AM 31 1.0539241347
6/20/2015 1:35:40 AM 26 0.0754799778
6/20/2015 1:36:40 AM 26 0.0754799778
6/20/2015 1:37:40 AM 17 -1.6857195046
6/20/2015 1:38:40 AM 21 -0.9029641791

xray-flare

xray-flare

Links:

My Data http://anti-proton.com/Test_T10.txt

Equipment Used (In case you wanted to know)

Detectors:

Gamma Rays: Sodium Iodide Thallium Doped Probe
NaI(Tl) 38.1mm x 38.1mm Cuylindrical (Radiation Sensors SDA38, 10 stage PMT)
Spectrum Techniques UCS30 1024 Channel MCA
Configuration:
Multi Channel Scaling mode.
60s Dwell Time, Fine Gain 1, Coarse Gain 1, 650v+
124 keV – 5.5 MeV
Batch Spectrum mode.
300s Run Time, 1 Sec Delay, Fine Gain 1, Coarse Gain 1, 650v+
124 keV – 5.5 MeV

X-Rays: Cesium Iodide Thallium Doped Probe
CsI(Tl) SE International RAP47 X-Ray Probe (25.4mm x 25.4mm)
Gamma Spectacular GS1100A Voltage Driver
PRA 8.0 Software MCA
Configuation:
Multi Channel Scaling mode.
10s Dwell Time, Volume 100, Boost 20dB, 800v+
8 keV – 140 keV

Catch All Geiger Counter:
SE International Inspector USB
LND7317 “Pancake” Geiger Muller probe
5 keV – greater than 5 MeV

Gamma Ray Burst GCN 17949 – Detected!

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*** UPDATE ***
I just received a reply from NASA about this GRB and I was told that the likelihood that I had detected it was very low. This does not mean I did not, but it casts doubt upon this detection. Perhaps I detected a cosmic ray or other such event at the same time? It is not impossible that this was a valid detection, but I will likely never know, given my equipment.
*************

So… the sky is cloudy and the rains won’t end. How are we supposed to watch the sky? To the perspective of a high energy photon, our nights are totally clear!

I have detected more cosmic phenomena with my particle detectors! I am posting this not just to show off the finds, but also to encourage others to try the same things! :) Science is super fun.

Please see the pictures for a better visual explanation.

Gamma Ray Burst GCN 17949
This morning around 9:28:26 AM Eastern Date Time, the NASA SWIFT space craft’s Burst Alert Telescope detected a GRB from the V404 Cygni binary star systems (this system has a black hole and either a later G or early K start [thanks Wikipedia]). The black hole is slowly consuming the gas from the companion star. X-rays and occasional GRB’s are emitted. SWIFT quickly slewed to the location and started recording data…

Somewhere in a closest on the East Coast of the USA, someone else was watching too lol

My x-ray detector started logging spikes (10 second bin counts) exceeding 2σ [my arbitrary point of interest]. 124 seconds after the original BAT trigger, SWIFT noted a climb in x-ray flux in the 15 keV to 350 keV range. My UCS30 was in 300 second batch spectrum mode and producing a new spectrum from 124 keV to 5.5 MeV. I examined the spectrum for that time period and I found a peak around ~282 keV. Using a 95% two tailed confidence, I detected 28.3343786561 counts within the peak area above the expected background.

Now, the GRB occurred below my horizon, so I suspect these were secondary x-rays from higher energy reactions, as well as attenuated photons from the x-ray afterglow (this occurred 124 seconds into the GRB, which is about right for this).

GCN17949

GCN17949

Links:

SWIFT Data http://gcn.gsfc.nasa.gov/other/645176.swift
NASA Data http://gcn.gsfc.nasa.gov/gcn3/17949.gcn3
My Data http://anti-proton.com/Test_T10.txt

Equipment Used (In case you wanted to know)

Detectors:

Gamma Rays: Sodium Iodide Thallium Doped Probe
NaI(Tl) 38.1mm x 38.1mm Cuylindrical (Radiation Sensors SDA38, 10 stage PMT)
Spectrum Techniques UCS30 1024 Channel MCA
Configuration:
Multi Channel Scaling mode.
60s Dwell Time, Fine Gain 1, Coarse Gain 1, 650v+
124 keV – 5.5 MeV
Batch Spectrum mode.
300s Run Time, 1 Sec Delay, Fine Gain 1, Coarse Gain 1, 650v+
124 keV – 5.5 MeV

X-Rays: Cesium Iodide Thallium Doped Probe
CsI(Tl) SE International RAP47 X-Ray Probe (25.4mm x 25.4mm)
Gamma Spectacular GS1100A Voltage Driver
PRA 8.0 Software MCA
Configuation:
Multi Channel Scaling mode.
10s Dwell Time, Volume 100, Boost 20dB, 800v+
8 keV – 140 keV

Catch All Geiger Counter:
SE International Inspector USB
LND7317 “Pancake” Geiger Muller probe
5 keV – greater than 5 MeV

Working on a video about space radiation!

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