Arecibo screensaver: seeing an interesting result?

jasper
jasper
Joined: 24 Jan 08
Posts: 1
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Topic 194433

Hello all,

The 'what does the screensaver show' isn't updated for the Arecibo screensaver, so I wonder if what I'm seeing now constitutes an Interesting Result...

In the 'Arecibo Power Spectrum' graph, the two leftmost bars are maxed out, the third oscillating about halfway up, and the fourth giving blips whenever the third maxes. (I'd add a picture if only I knew how)

So, what is this? Noise or a real signal?

(BTW this is at asc. 291.69, decl. 16.79, DM 22.20, running WU number p2030_54100_64726_0089_G51.80+00.13.C_5.dm_37_1)

Martin Ryba
Martin Ryba
Joined: 9 Apr 09
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Arecibo screensaver: seeing an interesting result?

Quote:

The 'what does the screensaver show' isn't updated for the Arecibo screensaver, so I wonder if what I'm seeing now constitutes an Interesting Result...

In the 'Arecibo Power Spectrum' graph, the two leftmost bars are maxed out, the third oscillating about halfway up, and the fourth giving blips whenever the third maxes. (I'd add a picture if only I knew how)

So, what is this? Noise or a real signal?

I don't have firsthand knowledge, but an important factor in estimating the scientific return of a given pulsar search result is the probability the candidate detection is caused by RFI (radio frequency interference). So, besides generating pulsar candidates, a snapshot of the base power spectrum is recorded to see how "clean" the environment was at the time of observation. That is likely what is plotted by the screensaver. I've seen WU's with one or two bars at the edge active. Yours sounds worse (boo!). Hopefully the cheapo cell phone or whatever else was causing that RFI wasn't around the observatory for long. The staff is pretty careful in limiting RFI but sometimes it's caused by things out of your control.

The researchers are building a big list of candidates from our results, and then will likely re-crunch some themselves and then get additional telescope time for targeted observations of the best ones. So, picking the best candidates is important, and the likelihood of a false alarm caused by RFI is a big factor.

"Better is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire (should be memorized by every requirements lead)

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