I have developed a browser application GUI for the setiQuest Info Service XML data feeds: http://ackrman.net/seti/ata-status
The page automatically refreshes the camera images, the observation data, and the Google Sky map. It is not necessary to reload the page to retrieve new data. The camera images seem to change about every 5 minutes. Sometimes the observation data will not change for hours, but during normal observations - from my experience so far - the data changes every few minutes. In the morning, during low-light, the cameras are often out of focus, and of course, at night, the image is black.
When the page loads, windows overlap to fit within a 1024x768 screen. You can change the z-order (stacking) of the windows by clicking on the title bars like you would expect with a local non-browser application. You can also move the windows where you desire by dragging the title bars. No resize yet.
The Google Sky map window contents will center on the primary beam RA/Dec coordinates, except for cases where declination is above 80 degress or below -80 degrees. Google Sky, because of the Mercator projection it uses, can not show the celestial sphere near the poles.
If you see blue squares overlayed on the Google Sky image, that's the Kepler field. The green circle is the primary beam. The primary beam will change size (diameter) based on frequency and zoom level. I may add in the future crosshairs to show the synthetic beam positions.
I am considering adding Stephanie's HABCAT catalog overlays, but in a less processor intensive way than the push-pin icon KML file. Also, I would like to label, for fun, the first, say 100, bright stars. And, I have stubs in the code for a window to display the observation schedule feed.
Can the cameras be pointed at something interesting? This is the view for the past three days:
apparently not ...
added Observation Schedule window:
There is something very satisfying about seeing the primary beam over the Kepler field in the Google Sky map. Try it yourself at http://ackrman.net/seti/ata-status/
I agree, seeing that green circle is very satisfying. I was surprised that the beam was as small as it is. I thought I read somewhere that the ATA's beam is a couple times larger than the Moon. In the future will we get to see the position of the other two beams? (:
A very cool addition to your site would be to have a history of past information that a user could scroll through. You could even make a time-lapse movie of the webcam images. I really like what you've done. Keep up the good work!
the Field of View of the ATA array is set by the size of the 6m dishes and is 3.5 deg/(f in GHz) FWHM. below 7 GHz the FoV is larger than the full moon. the individual synthesized beams have a diameter ~= FoV *(6 m/300 m) where 300 m is approximately the size of the largest baseline in the ATA-42 array.
I added this to the FAQ page. I always forget how to calculate the size of the beams, and I am asked quite often (Hence, a FAQ). See http://setiquest.org/content/what-field-view-fov-ata
Jill's formula is from the "Theory of the ATA." In practice, the many less than 42 elements that are beamformed are not chosen by position, but rather by mechanical status and temperature. They have uneven gains. In general, the array is longest in the NE to SW orientation. Because of these facts, the synthesized beam is most likely often elliptical and even perhaps misshapen with significant sidelobes. The synthesized beam also changes in shape and size with pointing as various baselines in the sparse array are foreshortened. It would be best to show the synthesized beam position in something like Google Sky using an indicator such as a crosshair rather than misrepresent it using a circle.
crosshairs illustrate the information about the synthesized beam positions relative to one another, without suggesting that the actual beam shape is the theoretical ideal one. so you should have multiple crosshairs for the multiple targets being observed. is that too crowded? were you intending to show only the FOV where the array is pointed?