Astronomy Report – December 13th

Name:   Thomas Horn    Crew: 184
Date: 12/13/17

Sky Conditions: Cloud Covered

Wind Conditions: Light Winds

Observation Start Time: 11:30am

Observation End Time: 2:30pm

Summary:   Unfortunately observing was not able to be done today due to extensive cloud cover.  We are hoping the cloud clears enough to allow us to watch the Geminids tonight.  In the meantime we used the procedure Peter sent out yesterday to re-process the images from yesterday and it worked great, example below.

Thanks for the help!  We will try again tomorrow and hope the clouds clear.

Objects Viewed: Nothing

Problems Encountered: Clouds

Astronomy Report – December 12th

Name:   Thomas Horn    Crew: 184
Date: 12/12/17

Sky Conditions: Clear

Wind Conditions: Light Winds

Observation Start Time: 11:30am

Observation End Time: 2:30pm

Summary:   We were able to observe three prominence’s on the limb of the sun which were visible using the eyepiece as well as the camera.  They are imaged below.  In the raw image it was impossible to view the prominence and the sun surface at the same time (as expected).  We are novices at photoshop, but attempted to optimize different parts of the picture for different settings to allow both features to be present in the same image.  Images of the three prominence’s are attached that were experimented with.  If anyone has advice or instructions on how to better utilize Photoshop to allow two very different features to show through in the same image it would be welcomed.

Hoping this solar activity continues!

Objects Viewed: 3 Solar Prominences

Problems Encountered: None

Astronomy Report – December 11th

Astronomy Report

Name:   Thomas Horn    Crew: 184
Date: 12/11/17

Sky Conditions: Clear

Wind Conditions: Still

Observation Start Time: 10:30am

Observation End Time: 1:30pm

Summary: It was reported there were interesting prominence’s at the limb of the sun.  These were not able to be observed, but two sunspots were identified in the below image. 

Objects Viewed: Sun, Sunspot

Problems Encountered: None

Astronomy Report – December 7th

Astronomy Report

Name:   Akash Trivedi    Crew: 184
Date: 7/12/17

Sky Conditions: Clear

Wind Conditions: Light

Observation Start Time: 2:45pm

Observation End Time: 4pm

Summary: No interesting features, took a few pics

Objects Viewed: Sun

Problems Encountered: None

Astronomy Report – December 6th

Name:  Thomas Horn

Crew:  184

Date:  12/6/2017

Sky Conditions:  Clear

Wind Conditions:  Light Wind

Observation Start Time:  3:30pm

Observation End Time:  5:00pm

Summary:  Crew Astronomer trained crew on observatory and telescope operations, no actual observing done.

Objects Viewed:  N/A

Problems Encountered:  None

Astronomy Report – December 5th

Name:  Thomas Horn

Crew:  184

Date:  12/5/2017

Sky Conditions:  Clear

Wind Conditions:  Still

Observation Start Time:  8:30am

Observation End Time:  9:30am

Summary:  Did a scan of solar features for unusual activity.  None
observed.  Image of solar surface attached.

Objects Viewed:  Sun

Problems Encountered:  None

Astronomy Report – December 4th

Facility Utilized: Musk Observatory

Crewmembers Utilized: Thomas Horn

Supplies Utilized: Solar Telescope / Eyepiece / Camera / Dome

Duration (minutes): 180 minutes

Description of Activity: Radiation is a deadly threat to astronauts both in transit to and on the surface of mars, particularly when the astronauts are exposed to the sun. While astronauts can rely on ground support to identify any solar hazards that develop, communication with the ground cannot be guaranteed. If a Mars Habitat had an independent method of solar observation it could provide critical advance notice that solar flares or other hazards were developing and give direction to crew to shelter in place in radiation storm shelters.

Today’s activity was primarily focused on setting up the solar observatory for operation throughout the mission. A quick survey of the sun was done and no unusual solar activity was spotted. Images below were taken during today’s operation.

Astronomy Report – November 26th

Astronomy/Science Officer Toluwa Fayemi
As far as our relatively uneventful stay on the Mars Desert Research Station goes, today was a bit more on the eventful side.
The morning started late and we jumped straight into preparing our experiments for the day. Jordan and I spent a good amount of time in the Geology Lab, testing our field 3D scanner on the specimen we retrieved from our EVA the previous day. The results were promising, but we expected to run into some issues in the field. Surely enough, it was difficult to scan an object 360º around while carrying the laptop with us without ‘losing’ the object in the scanner field, particularly in this terrain where the specimen of interest tend to be identical in colour to the ground around it. The sunlight also made it extremely difficult to see the laptop screen, making it difficult to monitor how well we were actually scanning the object.
During the same EVA, we managed to get some exciting photography/videography of the surrounding landscape which may be useful for future exploration/EVAs.
As far as astrophotography, I have been experimenting with me Canon t4i DSLR on various shutter speeds, apertures and ISO settings to continually improve my results. Some of the pictures and the settings used to obtain them are shared below.
This long exposure shot was amongst my first, set at f5.0 and an ISO of 128000, hence the grainy-looking ambient light around the hill. The shutter was open for 30 seconds.
This shot was taken with a briefer shutter, 25seconds and an f-stop of 6.3. This screenshot doesn’t quite do it justice but I’m pleased with the results of this settings modification. I believe the ISO was set to 64000 for this one.
This is the second shot I took with the HAB in view. I set the ISO to 64000 on this one, lower than the 128000 of the previous. The ambient light from the HAB was a tad too much for an ISO so high. This appears to be the better shot. Both shots had a 25 second shutter time and an f-stop of 6.3.

Astronomy Report – November 24th

Astronomy Report
Nov. 23rd/2017
Given that the Musk Observatory is still offline (as it probably will be for the remainder of the mission), my Astronomy observation is limited to Solar observations during the day. This is fine, I’m sure I’ll find plenty to keep me occupied with that.
Today we calibrated the 3D printers and have been continuously printing items that we may need to use in remote locations.
Later tonight, much like last night, I plan to perform a non-sim EVA with our Mission Engineer to practice some Astrophotography. Will post pictures in my next report.
Hopefully I get to do some daytime Solar observations tomorrow. I’ll likely spend most of my day figuring out how to operate that lab.
Problems Encountered: The Musk Observatory being offline.


Toluwa Fayemi
MDRS Crew 183 Astronomer
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