Sunday, November 27, 2005

Mount St Helens update

The last week has been both interesting and frustrating. Interesting because there have been several nights when the weather has been clear and the glow from the lavadome has been visible. Frustrating, because the focus of the Volcanocam is still not correct and won't be for another week or so.

The focus of the Volcanocam was knocked out of whack on the 9th November when the maintenance crew fixed the power problem to the camera. Unfortunately, at this time of year it is not a simple matter to drive up to JRO and fix the problem and the problem with the focus of the camera wasn't apparent when the crew performed the original repairs.

What is worse from the night time image perspective is that the focus was knocked out even further for the near-IR response of the camera, compared to the daylight view.

I have tried various means of processing the Volcanocam images to compensate for the problem, but deconvolution is not a simple solution. Without knowing the exact nature of the focus problem, you have to use generic solutions. This means that the solution may not accurately compensate the problem.

The most success I have had is using maximum entropy deconvolution. The following is an example of the current state of night time images from the Volcanocam, and this is what I have been able to extract using deconvolution. It does look similar to the night time images from previous nights, but the best solution will only come from the maintenance people being able to get back to the camera and correct the problem manually.

Here's hoping they will be able to get back up to JRO and fix the problem sooner rather than later...

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