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Earthshine blog

"Earthshine blog"

A blog about a telescopic system at the Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawaii to determine terrestrial albedo by earthshine observations. Feasible thanks to sheer determination.

How bad is the Drag?

Data reduction issues Posted on Sep 22, 2013 11:04AM

During data-reduction we found the many ‘dragged images’. These are images where the shutter probably did not close before readout started. They look like this one (histogram equalized):
The ‘drag’ is from the BS but is probably present everywhere, but not visible from the DS. The BS has a maximum near the right hand limb where the counts are near 10000. The ‘drag’ is near 240 at most. There is no gradient in the drag along the direction of the drag:

The absence of a gradient in the drag helps us understand its origins – it is the effect of constant-speed readout. The readout speed is supposedly 1e-6 s per pixel (in the image header: this may be read from the camera but could be a fixed number entered at setup ….). Reading 512×512 pixels should take 0.26 seconds. The exposure time for this image was set to 0.0274s. Being a ‘dragged image’ we have no idea if this is right.

I do not quite understand the ratio of maximum drag value to maximum BS value. If the drag/BS ratio is 240/10000 and the BS exposure time is 0.0274 s the drag must have lasted just 240/10000*0.0274 = 0.00066 s. The camera is a frame transfer system – is frame transfer that fast? Perhaps the 0.26 s readout time is a slower line-by-line operation? This page mentions ‘a few msec’ for the frame transfer: http://depts.washington.edu/keck/pg22.pdf . We have 0.66 msec, so – close.

If the shutter got into the act in mid readout the amplitude of the drag is affected by this. I think many dragged images we have seen are like the above one – dragging is seldom much worse than this.

Let us check other dragged images with higher exposures and see if the drag/BS ratio is constant or not.

The above was prompted by pondering whether we could have a ‘shutter-less’ camera. It would appear not – at least not if the drag is due to open shutter during readout. The readout would have to be 24 times faster than it is and I am not sure CCD cameras come with such fast readout. 24 MHz readout?



Is image-shifting means-conserving?

Post-Obs scattered-light rem. Posted on Sep 22, 2013 09:02AM

In our data-reduction methods, image-alignment is often involved. It is based on interpolation. An important questions i whether the mean is conserved during such alignment?

To test this we iterate the shift of an observed image, measuring the mean of a patch given by selenographic coordinates. We iterate many times – i.e. reuse the previously shifted image for next round – in order to get a clearer answer. Visual inspection shows the iterated image getting ‘fuzzy’ as the shifts recur. That is, image standard deviation suffers. How bad is the situation for the mean of an area?

The answer is ‘not very much’. Iterating the shifts 40 times we find thatthe per-shift loss in mean value over a realistically sized patch on the DS is -0.005 %. The mean in the patch was about 10 counts which is ‘bright’ for the DS. At other lunar phases the counts may be just 2 or 3 – still just a factor of 5 from the above.

We would never shift the same image 40 times, of course, but the iterated shifts above allows us to build up a change in the mean that can be fitted with a regression. We have learned that one shift of an image may ‘cost’ 0.005% of the mean flux. This is a lot less than the goals for accuracy we have set, which are ‘0.1%’.

Added later: an identical test, but using ROT to rotate an image bya random amount, iterated, showed that errors per rotation were almost always less then 0.01%.