Re: Introductions

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Hello Lamar,

Lamar Owen wrote:
> Good morning, and an early Happy New Year to everyone.
> I first learned of this SIG Saturday; very cool.  I have downloaded and have 
> read the archives of the mailing list (nothing like getting a little history, 
> even if that isn't but a month long) and I plan on attending the meeting on 
> the 11th, unless something work related comes up.
> By way of introductions, I am CIO at the Pisgah Astronomical Research 
> Institute (PARI), which is one of the few observatories with both optical and 
> radio capabilities.  

Wow, happy to see you here! :)

> We currently have several optical instruments, from a pair of solar telescopes 
> with Ethernet video webcams to a 16 inch DFM with an Apogee Ethernet CCD, and 
> we have four dish-type radio instruments: two 26 meter X-Y mounted prime 
> focus parabolics good  up to 12-14GHz; a 12.2 meter prime focus parabolic 
> good to 26-30GHz; and a 4.6 meter prime focus parabolic good up to the low 
> millimeter range.  We also have a few HF arrays for use with the Radio Jove 
> program, observing the sun and Jupiter in the 20-28 MHz band.  We also host 
> another radio instrument from Virginia Tech; see 
> for lots and lots of details on this exciting 
> instrument.
> The 12.2 meter is in need of major work, and is mothballed pending funding.
> The two 26 meter telescopes are in the midst of drive and feed upgrades; DFM 
> Engineering is performing the drive upgrades (this is the second drive 
> upgrade on these telescopes that they've done for us; this gets us 27 bit 
> absolute encoders and Ethernet connectivity for control and telemetry); the 
> feeds are being upgraded to thermally stabilized dual, coaxial 2.4GHz and 
> 8.5GHz for extreme scattering event research as an interferometer, funded 
> through an NSF MRI grant.  Also, PARI is collaborating with Furman University 
> Astronomer Dr. David Moffett on pulsar monitoring research in the 318MHz 
> band; the instrument is currently off-line, but the pulsar radiometer backend 
> is on Linux (currently an older Fedora).
> The 4.6 meter Andrew parabolic is in active use for our School of Galactic 
> Radio Astronomy educational program, and has a 1.42GHz hydrogen RF chain and 
> spectrometer.  This telescope is currently internet controllable through a 
> Java applet in-browser (the applet doesn't work with the F8 java stack, 
> unfortunately), and with a custom java servlet backend.  The SGRA program 
> teaches middle school teachers how run the telescope remotely, how to perform 
> doppler spectroscopy to determine the galactic rotational characteristics, 
> and how to teach their classes how to do this.  The telescope has a smiley 
> face painted on it (long story), so it is nicknamed 'Smiley' for obvious 
> reasons.  

Is the java applet available somewhere? I'm wondering why it's not
working with IcedTea java.

> Smiley also gets used for solar astronomy at 1.4GHz (we have a program, called 
> Space Science Lab, that teaches high school sophomores and juniors, in a one 
> week on-site seminar setting, all about solar astronomy, from optical all the 
> way down to 20MHz radio, and Smiley is a part of that.  In the SSL program, 
> the students spend one week on site, learning astronomy, radio astronomy, 
> basic electronics, soldering, troubleshooting, etc: they build a Radio Jove 
> kit radiometer, and if they don't have their own PC, we give them one with 
> the require software preloaded; out of 57 kits attempted at this point, 56 
> have been successfully constructed within the one week seminar; the 57th kit 
> had a bad PC board).
> We have a number of other programs; you can see the breadth of them on our 
> website at

That's a nice gear. I hope to have chance visit your institute if I'm
around someday. :)

> Personally, I have run Red Hat and Fedora Linux since Red Hat Linux 4.1 in 
> 1997.  I was the PostgreSQL Global Development Group's RPM maintainer from 
> 1999 through 2004 (my base spec file is still in RHEL4), when I passed the 
> maintainership to Devrim Gunduz, as personal reasons prevented me from doing 
> the builds in a timely fashion at that time.  Since then, of course, 
> automated buildsystems have come of age, and packaging is a much simpler 
> process than it was then.


> On the subject of packages, I see in the rejected packages list IRAF.  Getting 
> permission from UCAR to distribute NCAR as a part of Fedora would be killer, 
> as IRAF is de rigeur for optical astronomy.  For radio astronomy, getting the 
> former AIPS and AIPS++ packages, as well as the currently maintained CASA 
> packages, in Fedora would be killer, as that is pretty much required for 
> single dish and interferometer imagery in radio astronomy.

Regarding Iraf, x11iraf is under review,
Since one month I'm trying to contact Mr. Romanovski, which after years
of studies in US, is back in Russia.

> Also, GNUradio has an astronomy section; with a Universal Software Radio 
> Peripheral (USRP) with a DBRX daughterboard, and a medium-sized dish (2-4 
> meters) useful 1.4GHz radio astronomy can be done.  GNUradio requires wx, and 
> the radio astronomy examples require PyEphem; getting PyEphem in Fedora would 
> be great in general for astronomy, as PyEphem does all the interesting 
> calculations, including the absolutely required (for radio astronomy) local 
> standard of rest.  Having GNUradio packages (it's in Debian already) would be 
> great (I might be able to do these if no one else does them).

PyEphem and GNU Radio are on our wish list as well and I hope I'll
package it.

If someone is interesting in packaging GNU/Radio, Trond's spec file is
available at

> In any case, it's great to see this SIG form, and I look forward to being able 
> to help in some fashion.  I see several names I recognize here; Jef, spot, in 
> particular.  We use Aurora Linux on a couple of our backends, running on an 
> E6500 and E5500 Sun Enterprise pair.

Please, don't hesitate to come to our next meeting, so we can discuss
what Fedora do for

Marek Mahut     
Fedora Project                         

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