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.



sexta-feira, junho 12, 2015


Mental note - this is not to be forgotten: Meditation from Thaïs (J. Massenet). 

I listened to this beautiful music tonight, brilliantly played live by a student of the Coimbra Music Conservatory in a magical night where 4 young soloists from this conservatory inspired everyone who was listening. The many long hours of hard work rehearsing the difficult pieces were not in vain: they were rewarding and filled the public with pride, hope and optimism in the future. All is well, sleep tight tonight.

(In a way, this blog is almost the opposite: effortless music, no rules, no need to play or sound well. Unfinished music and unattained pleasures, just for fun. But this is no reason for not acknowledging the deep respect I feel for those who dedicate their lives to playing beautiful music.)

Oh, and pardon my english... I do try...

quinta-feira, junho 04, 2015

New Song

The idea was just to post a few more photos... but then I remembered that somewhere in the disk I had a song I once called "teaching eagles not to be afraid", whose title may have occurred to me when I was looking at that precise scene of the goshawks (?) starting to fly away from the poles as I approached to photograph them...

I had completely forgot about the song: a piano improvisation made about 15 months ago. I added a few more sounds (trying not to exagerate too much this time - serendipity may have helped) and left some errors, as usual. One never knows what the (near) future will bring...

quarta-feira, junho 03, 2015

(Fields near the Mondego river in Coimbra, Portugal. A second bird is also on a pole, in the distance.)

New Song

I couldn't sleep, don't know why. I had been listening to this song just before going to bed and it kept echoing in my head, not letting me sleep. This has happened before with other songs. This time, a stupid idea formed in my head: "you will have rest once you publish this song". I ignored the idea for an hour or so but... I couldn't sleep! Hopeless, I decided to publish it now, "as is". It was not supposed to be like this, but... I have to work tomorrow! Yesterday I imagined what it would be like if someone would sing it, if I added crescendos, a lush orchestration to create the right mood to the next phase of the song, etc but... not now!

When I entered the "music room", I realized I had forgotten to turn off the computer and the keyboard. By chance, the last picture in the blog was appropriate for the title of the song, which I left unchanged. Minimizing work, I didn't want to change anything: just publish it and go to bed! Good night! :)