sábado, agosto 29, 2015

End of holidays.

The next few months I will be very busy @ work. So, using the programming feature of Blogger I posted a few months of photos in advance. This blog will thus continue, even if this humble blogger is struck by lightning, unless meanwhile the world (or Blogger) ends.

For the moment I resisted the temptation of writing a post to our fellows of the next millenium.

quinta-feira, agosto 20, 2015

Around the volcano

Around the Caldeira at Faial Island, Azores.
With the volcano's caldera on one side (photos above) and sea, volcanos and islands on the other (below), it is a perfect and easy hike at ~1000m altitude.

"The Blue Island", they call it, due to the flowers ("hortensias").

Series of volcanic cones. The last one, partly seen on the right, is from the 1957-58 eruptions (Vulcão dos Capelinhos) and formed new land.

quarta-feira, agosto 12, 2015

Festival do Minuto 2015

I sent two one-minute songs to the "Festival do Minuto 2015", where all songs have one minute (+- 5 secs). It was a nice challenge and the exercize of listening to a serendipitous set of diverse musical findings (35 songs!) is very interesting...

terça-feira, julho 14, 2015


Today at lunch hour, just as New Horizons was reaching its closest distance to Pluto, I felt Charon's presence in the elevator of the mall. I knew it: they are watching us just as we are watching them.

quarta-feira, julho 08, 2015

More 'newbie' images of Pluto and Charon. Each row spans one rotation period of Pluto
(oldest: bottom left; newest: top right).



quarta-feira, julho 01, 2015

Seeing the invisible

Seeing the invisible seems paradoxal. Yet it can be so simple...
Below, not only we can 'see' the transparent water, but also we can map its depth and find 'invisible' floating sand using the shadows. Or we can estimate the position of the sun relative to the observer (both invisible in the photo), infer the hour of the day, or...
A good model can do wonders, a bad model can lead to disaster.

domingo, junho 28, 2015


My 'newbie' recipe for finding celestial objects. Overlap all Pluto and Charon images (see previous post) so that Pluto is in the center. Use a rough estimate of Pluto's size (from the number of pixels it occupies in each image) to resize the images. Violet/blue indicates older images, red and white the most recent ones. Plot only the pixels with values above a certain threshold (removing the average background noise first). Trails appear. Satellites, background stars, artefacts of the crude processing? How many, 5, 6? Imagine... (Click on the image for more detail.)

Addendum (29/6/2015): the next step would be to get rid of those fluctuations when resizing the images... Without them, I expect (or imagine...) that the orbit of Charon around Pluto would more closely follow the ellipse seen above and fluctuations in the trails would also be greatly reduced, rendering curvilinear trajectories. One can see some scattered points deviating from those lines, with colors matching the gaps in the trails... they probably belong to those trails but were displaced due to errors in the resizing of individual images. If the trails were due to background stars, would they converge to Pluto? Probably not... Note that the image above was created without knowing anything special about the images: everything was mainly image-driven. With more information, finer analysis will probably lead to more precision, detecting smaller objects.

Why do those trails end abruptly, e.g., when reaching the red colors (meaning more recent images)? Well, probably that is due to the object moving outside the individual image, as New Horizons approaches Pluto...

Addendum 2 (30/6/2015): Please do not think that this is a serious analysis of the problem! I do not know many details about the data, and that is crucial to do a proper analysis. Besides, there are many experts in the field that are analysing this using the proper tools and information. My main goal was, besides trying to satisfy my curiosity, to try to help by suggesting an eventually different approach that could spark a good idea in someone else...

Imagining things.

Pluto and Charon. The oldest and newest images are in the bottom-left and top-right corners respectively. Consider this an artefactual, romantic view of these worlds, created using the freely accessible data from the New Horizons mission. Thank you NASA, JHAPL and SwRI, for allowing anyone to explore these new old worlds in almost real time! Images were resized, intensities rescaled and contrast enhanced. Do not take them too seriously - they were processed by an amateur - but go ahead: click on them, zoom in and start imagining all sort of things while you still can.