"Starting Work on the Nepturne Images"

Heidi Hammel - March 22, 1996
Planet Advocate for Neptune

    This is Heidi and Wes, writing from MIT on Friday afternoon. You already know me (Heidi) and Wes Lockwood is a scientist from Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. We have worked on Neptune data analyses together for many years. The next series of journals will document how we analyze the new LHST Neptune images. These will be analyzed right along with some of our older images, taken in 1994 and 1995. Much of the processing is the same, and we hope to include the LHST images in the paper we are writing about Neptune right now.

Today, we downloaded the images from Space Telescope Science Institute: this means we transferred them over the Internet from a disk in Baltimore, Maryland, to a disk attached to Heidi's work station at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This took about three hours! They are big images! But most of the image is just sky. The pictures on the LHST web pages were clipped out to show just Neptune.

Heidi also installed a new disk on her computer, to hold the new data and the work that we expect to do over the next two weeks. While she was doing that, Wes reviewed the work we had done the last time we were together, which was just before Christmas.

We took a quick look at our new images - they're great! The first thing we noticed was that the clouds were very different from the way the planet looked in September. The general banded structure (the stripes, like on Jupiter) look pretty much the same, but the brightest cloud is now in the south - not the north! That was a big surprise.

We have a lot of complicated work to do, both on these new LHST data, and the other data. So we made a To-Do list, and here it is:

  • Go over previous to-do list (18 Dec 1995), and document what we have done
  • Put disk directories back in order since addition of new disk
  • Track down Amanda's email about HST ephemerides
  • Track down Mert Davies 1994 reference for Neptune ephemeris
  • Get 1994 and 1995 disk-integrated photometry from Lowell
  • Refresh memory of solar cycle phase vs. Neptune outbursts - is 1994 a burst?
  • Assemble planet center table
  • Assemble observation logs table
  • Write up navigation procedure
  • During the next few weeks, we will keep you updated on our progress as we work.

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