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By Lumistar's Chief Scientist

August 15, 2016

Infrared Shows Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is Hot

Update 9/2/16: Jupiter’s Full Scan in Infrared!

A recent infrared scan of Jupiter shows it’s Great Red Spot to be the hottest spot on the planet – by a significant amount. The Great Red Spot has been churning for at least 150 years and is currently shrinking. What was once 25,000 miles wide in the 1800s is now 10,000 miles wide. The GRS was first discovered by Galileo in the 1600s. The color has also changed over time. It currently spans the distance equal to three Earth-diameters. It is comparable by scientists to a Earth hurricane, and it takes six days to complete one spin. The lower atmosphere of Jupiter is very hot as it’s a gas giant composed of mostly hydrogen and helium, much like the sun. The planet releases more heat than it receives from the sun as gravity compresses its mass and slowly shrinks the planet as it spends its fuel, much like a star. This is why most scientists believe Jupiter, with its massive gaseous size, could in fact be a star that failed to ignite.

The mystery of this story begins with a 1973 Pioneer 10 spacecraft that did a flyby and measured Jupiter’s temperature for the first time. Perplexing scientists, it showed the upper atmosphere is nearly 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, when it was predicted to be -100 degrees based on the lack solar heating from the sun, largely because the planet is about fives time further from the sun than Earth. A theory was created that the heat might be coming from Jupiter’s gargantuan auroras, the glow of charged particles accelerated along the magnetic field into the north and south polar regions , which were indeed even hotter at 1700 degrees Fahrenheit. But scientists have been confounded how could that heat be distributed north and south, causing a massive temperature rise in the middle, when the winds of the planet go east and west as seen in Jupiter’s tell tale bands.

James O’Donoghue, a research scientist at Boston University using a very small travel grant, used observations on the SpeX instrument, mounted on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii to view Jupiter’s heat. Astronomers measure the temperature of a planet by observing the non-visible, infrared (IR) light it emits. O’Donoghue and his team think they have finally cracked the code. He discovered, using an infrared spectrometer observing the rare earth H3+ molecule, that the temperature of the upper atmosphere , 350 to 600 miles above the giant swirling storm, averages 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit!

Scientists in 1973 didn’t believe there was a connection between the Jovian low and high altitudes because of the great distance within the atmosphere of the planet. This temperature discovery shows this is untrue as a new theory has emerged that they are indeed connected in an unexpected manor. The theory is this GRS hotspot is created by thunderous soundwaves “breaking” in the thin upper reaches of the atmosphere. The gravity ‘shock’ waves from the energy of the lower storm are traveling upward up until they reach their end and snap like ocean waves hitting the shore creating a massive amount of sound and kinetic energy that heats the upper atmosphere.

“There is some evidence in Earth’s atmosphere, above storms and above features such as mountains – the Andes mountains in fact – that there are acoustic waves emanating from them, and that they propagate up into the atmosphere and cause heating there,” O’Donoghue said. They described their findings online July 27 in Nature

Filed under: Infrared,Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — Lumistar @ 08:09

June 15, 2016

Infrared Helicopter Uncovers ‘Fight Club’

In the middle of the night, at a closed Winn Dixie parking lot in Orlando, Florida, a ‘fight club’ assembled and began voluntarily assaulting each other. The Winn Dixie employees had gone home and no shoppers were in sight. Two men, an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old, were caught engaged in their illegal activities by a thermal imaging camera mounted to a police helicopter while it floated quietly above. (See video above.)

The helicopter called local patrol cars below to intervene. The suspects ran, of which the 18-year-old ran into the woods to evade both the helicopter and the police on foot, but thermal imaging spotted him through the trees from above. The police helicopter coordinated with law enforcement on the ground, and all suspects were caught. Both men now face charges of public fighting and resisting arrest.

More video at Live Leak

April 15, 2016

New Generation Infrared Satellites Discover Shipwrecks

Infrared Shipreck

Researchers have found shipwrecks near the coast can leave sediment plumes that can be detected by infrared satellites looking on the water’s surface which can reveal their location. The joint venture NASA/USGS Landsat 8 satellite, put into space in 2013, was recently utilized in a study to see if it could spot watery graves of shipwrecks by detecting sediment plumes in shallow water less than 50 feet (15 m) with plumes extending as far as 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) downstream. Researchers used atmospherically corrected Landsat 8 reflectance data from OLI 4 (red band) and OLI 5 (infrared band). An estimated 3 million shipwrecks are scattered across the planet’s oceans.

Sediment plumes must reach the surface in order to be detected by infrared. The researchers postulated that the exposed underwater structures have created scour pits in the seafloor that fill with fine sediments (sand, clay, organic matter) during slack tides, the period of relatively still water. These scour pits become repositories from which sediments are re-suspended during flood and ebb tides. When these sediments reach the surface, they create their telltale plumes.

Typically these shallow, sediment-rich areas near shore were hazards to navigation due to reasons such as shallow water hazards rocks and reefs, which can cause catastrophic damage to vessels either in a storm or as a result of navigational error. Also, historically, military and pirate activity typically took place near shore.

This discovery demonstrates for the first time how Landsat and Landsat-like infrared satellites may be used for marine archeology. For example, the newly recovered ships may be a discovery of historical significance. Another potential uses is if the hard substrate of the ship has created a reef, it can be of great ecological significance. Also, modern-era shipwrecks are commonly sources of pollution, leaking onboard fuel and corroded heavy metals which can be studied for their ecological impact or cleaned up. Newly discovered underwater shipwrecks could also be added to navigation charts, as unknown underwater shipwrecks are potential hazards for commercial shipping routes. …Or this technology can be used for treasure hunters, what else? Let’s not try and sugar coat it, or in this case sediment coat it.
Credits: NASA/USGS Landsat/NASA Earth Observatory

February 15, 2016

First Aerial Infrared Footage of L.A. Natural Gas Leak

Thousands of residents from upscale community Porter Ranch, California, as suburb of Los Angeles, have been relocated after becoming sickened by nearby massive gas leak that began in October 2015. The natural gas well was originally an oil field but was quickly depleted over a 60 plus year span. In the 1970s, the land’s owners pumped in natural gas into the empty well to be stored and later used when prices were higher. As nearby residents began experiencing nausea, nosebleeds, dizziness, and headaches the utility provider SoCalGas allegedly informed local authorities 3 days after detection according to court documents. The residents were initially told they were feeling sick from the rotten-egg smell added to the natural gas which is used to alert customers when they have a gas leak in their home as natural gas is odorless, but it was further revealed that compounds that can cause cancer, for example benzene, were elevated beyond their legal limits. Residents and media took to using infrared cameras to show the dramatic effect of the gas leak, as well as to provide peace of mind when it is resolved. By adding a special filter and using a specific bandwidth of the infrared spectrum, infrared cameras can detect gases including natural gas in the atmosphere to be shown in the visible spectrum. The above video was taken with a special infrared camera from a helicopter showing what is invisible to the naked eye or traditional cameras. SoCalGas has been working on building a new relief well adjacent to the broken well to siphon the gas to a new receptacle, after which time the old well will be filled with mud and sealed with cement. The leak was stopped last week, but the families won’t start moving back to nearby homes until state authorities have certified that cement pumped into the well has permanently plugged it.

Update: On February 17, SoCalGas pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from the ruptured well in California that leaked for weeks. The complaint brought by the county district attorney includes three counts of failing to report the release of a hazardous material and one count of discharge of air contaminants. If convicted, the company could be fined up to $1,000 per day for air pollution violations and up to $25,000 for each of the three days it didn’t notify the state office of emergency services of the leak.

December 15, 2015

Christmas Shown From Space Using Infrared Process

Nasa Photo of Christmas Lights

New photos created from NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite, shows the extent of holiday light displays in the U.S. compared to the rest of the year. By comparing the light from the Christmas holiday with the rest of the year, the differential is extracted and shown on the map. Scientists found that nighttime lights around major U.S. cities shone 20 percent to 50 percent brighter around Christmas. Dark green in the key is used to indicate areas where lights have the largest gain mostly suburbs being 50 percent brighter in December. The images released were taken between 2012 and 2013 and include 70 American cities. The difference is most pronounced in suburbs and small towns where residents have bigger yards and bigger homes. Lights were brightest between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

The Suomi NPP weather satellite, launched in 2011, has a sounder infrared spectrometer named Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), and a scanning radiometer named Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). Since 1980, polar-orbiting weather satellites have included both imagers and sounders. These types of sensors record data continuously, using different wavelengths to infer information on a global scale.

The CrIS sounder infrared spectrometer is an instrument measuring temperature and water vapor as a function of different heights within the atmosphere. The scanner collects multiple spectral data via 1,305 separated spectral channels (sensors), internally separating infrared energy into wavelengths, similar to a weather balloon. CrIS produces high-resolution, three-dimensional temperature, pressure, and moisture profiles. These profiles are used to enhance weather forecasting models, and they will facilitate both short- and long-term weather forecasting.

The VIIRS uses radiometric and infrared imaging, thereby using a color pallet to ‘paint’ polarized heat images by assigning color to each heat temperature, which is the sole instrument used to create the above map. VIIRS collects visible and infrared imagery and radiometric measurements of the land, atmosphere, cryosphere, and oceans. VIIRS data is used to measure cloud and aerosol properties, ocean color, sea and land surface temperature, ice motion and temperature, fires, and Earth’s albedo. VIIRS can record infrared light even in the presence of clouds, moonlight and air particles.

Together VIIRS and CrIS combine infrared instruments and can determine cloud top height and thermodynamic phase (ice or water particles), and make estimates of microphysical and optical properties that indicate the amount of water and ice in the cloud layer. The Suomi NPP satellite is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense.

Learn More Here

October 15, 2015

Thermal Imaging Facial Recognition System In Works


The problem with current facial recognition systems using optical CCTV cameras is that when it’s dark the analytics can’t make heads or tails what’s going on. Thermal infrared would solve this problem but with it’s current limitations it can’t see the kind of facial details that traditional lighting highlights in a person’s face. A group of German scientists claim to have found a solution to this issue, limiting infrared cameras, by creating a new system that analyzes a person’s thermal signature. To accomplished this, the scientists first gained access to a previous study’s archived database of optical and thermal infrared photo profiles created for 82 individuals. Second, the scientists fed 41 of these complete profiles, or half, into a deep neural network computer system, so called due to it’s ability to use artificial intelligence to ‘learn’, and taught the computer to compare a person’s thermal infrared profile with their optical photo. The computer’s analytics was put to the test to see if it was able to make accurate identification by feeding the remaining 41 profile photos at random into the computer. Amazingly, it was accurate by 10% greater than the latest state-of-the-art traditional optical CCTV methods of facial recognition. But there is still a long way to go before it is put into real life situations due to the fact each person’s study profiles on average had 55 photos, thermal and non-thermal.  The computer’s facial recognition accuracy reaches only about 80% when there are a few optical images in its database to compare to the thermal image. With only one optical image available per person, the accuracy of the system falls to 55%.

Learn More Here

August 15, 2015

NASA Uses Infrared Camera To Measure Pluto’s Ice

pluto infrared spectral image

When New Horizons spacecraft passed Pluto on 14 July, is equipped with an infrared camera as part of the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA). LEISA is a spectrometer on New Horizons’ Ralph instrument, that operates in 256 near infrared (NIR) wavelengths between 1.25-2.50 micrometers. The Ralph instrument combines visible imagery from the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) with infrared spectroscopy from LEISA.

A little background: Spectroscopy, the measurement of radiation intensity as a function of wavelength, is used in physical and analytical chemistry because atoms and molecules have unique spectra or ‘code’. The measured spectra are used to determine the chemical composition and physical properties of astronomical objects. LEISA uses infrared spectroscopy using an infrared camera detector or spectrometer, to capture the longer invisible infrared wavelengths of near infrared NIR (vs. sometimes using shorter wavelengths of optical light) and in this case using multi-band infrared sub-wavelengths to derive the chemical composition ‘code’ of a distant celestial body.

The above map represents just three of those 256 NIR wavelengths, as more data has yet to be beamed back to Earth, in a slow process that will last through 2016. The bright blue, red, black, and green pixels — overlaid on a LORRI basemap, represent methane ice accumulations as derived from infrared spectroscopy. Three colors on the map represent the three wavelengths data transmitted to date. The color red was chosen to map the longest infrared wavelength thus far (2.30 to 2.33 micrometers), followed by green (1.97 to 2.05 micrometers), and blue at the short end of infrared (1.62 to 1.70 micrometers). From what scientists are observing from the Ralph instrument, Pluto is abundant in methane ice, but it is unevenly distributed, for which they lack understanding. Methane changes from gas to liquid to ice as the temperature drops. On relatively warm Earth methane takes form of a gas, on Saturn’s moon Titan methane is a liquid sea, and on distant and very cold Pluto, methane has become thick mountainous patches of ice. Pluto’s equatorial patches are so reddish-brown dark in optical light they have shallow infrared absorption. But in the north polar cap, methane ice is diluted in a thick, transparent slab of nitrogen ice resulting in strong absorption of infrared light.

For the first time in history we have images near Pluto. Pluto has come as a surprise with it’s giant heart shape on the surface, its reddish color like Mars but for a different reason, the fact it could be geologically active to this day which is a mystery why, incredible mountain ranges and glaciers that look surprisingly like Earth’s, its strange snake skin like terrain shaped by its alien hydrological glacial cycle (it snows nitrogen), Pluto’s daily weather changes, and a 12 layer nitrogen/methane atmosphere. A different instrument, Alice, will beam back separate data about Pluto’s atmosphere. Not too long ago, all that was known about Pluto was represented by a distant blue dot. Bottom line: Pluto’s ice is more diverse than anticipated to say the least.

Note: Spectroscopic studies were central to the development of quantum mechanics and included Max Planck’s explanation of blackbody radiation, Albert Einstein’s explanation of the photoelectric effect and Niels Bohr’s explanation of atomic structure and spectra.

June 15, 2015

Thermal Camera Observes Computer Hack Using Heat

Highly secure computer systems, referred to as “air-gapped systems”, are not connected to the internet or connected to other systems connected to the internet so their data can’t be hacked and stolen. These systems are used in military complexes, payment systems, or systems that control critical infrastructure, to name a few examples. But investigators have found a new way to hack into these systems — using heat. Researchers are also using thermal infrared cameras to observe the process (see above video). By having an infected computer that is connected to internet placed near the non-internet connected computer, for example, a laptop that goes home with a worker and returns to the office placing it near the air-gapped classified system, the internet hacker manipulates the laptop’s temperature in a pattern creating 0’s and 1’s communicating to the air-gapped system via it’s thermal sensor that is normally used for its cooling fan. At present time, the rate of information exchanged via heat signals back and forth is slow but information such as password transmission has been demonstrated. Researchers are determining if internet connected air conditioning systems can also communicate with these offline classified computers sometime in the future as this method develops.

Learn More

April 15, 2015

Police Gear Up To Watch Beaches With Thermal Imaging

As police departments become more militarized, Miami Beach’s officers will be prepared for Memorial Day weekend, locally known as ‘Urban Beach Week’, on a whole new level. Their equipment includes: multiple mobile cameras, 3 watchtowers, 62 light towers, 12 messaging boards, 18 stationary CCTV cameras (monitored throughout the city), multiple license plate readers (on the causeways to quickly scan for stolen vehicles or owners with outstanding felony warrants), 400 officers on duty around the clock, and ATV’s. What’s of interest to this blog is that they will have an all new light tactical all-terrain vehicle or “LTV”, which is a $140,000 vehicle similar to the ones used in the military. This highly advanced vehicle has a built in thermal imaging camera to patrol and detect heat signatures on the beach. Even in the dead of night, with zero light conditions, officers can see people on a small screen mounted inside the vehicle, detecting people as far as 3/4 of a mile away who are trespassing on the beach after hours, or other criminal activity. Officers liken a dark beach in Miami to a dark alley in New York City. [See video.]

Filed under: Business,Camera,Infrared,Lumistar,Technology,Thermal Imaging — Tags: , , , , — Lumistar @ 08:00

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