Recent grad Pratham Joshi works on image processing for the Hubble Space Telescope

Recent Bennington graduate Pratham Joshi did a Research Experience for Undergraduates this past summer at the Space Telescope Institute, working on processing images for the Hubble Space Telescope. Pratham concentrated his Bennington studies on Computing, Astronomy, and Mathematics. Here is what he did in his own words:

Pratham Joshi

Pratham Joshi presents his work at the Space Telescope Science Institute

For my REU at the Space Telescope Science Institute this summer, I worked on an Image Processing Pipeline for the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2). The Hubble Space Telescope is primarily known for its images of far out galaxies (especially the Hubble Deep Field) and the institute has a robust image processing pipeline for this. The problem is that a small subset of Hubble images are solar system images and this pipeline might not be the most well optimized tool for it. I thus worked with my mentor Alex Viana on an image processing pipeline specifically for moving target solar system body images.

The moving target pipeline (which is open source and can be obtained/forked from github here) consists of four major steps: Cosmic Ray rejection, Single Image drizzling, slicing and Image creation. It was written primarily in Python and uses MySQL for database. Different in-house and third-party tools were optimized and automated to connect these into our pipeline. I also did automated testing of the system and used it to generate processed images for various solar system objects. The images obtained from our pipeline will be used for the CosmoQuest Citizen Science Project (the results of which will in turn be used to further optimize our system) as well as be stored in the Hubble archive for use by scientists and researchers. There are also plans to use/extend the pipeline for use with the Hubble cameras as well as the James Webb Space Telescope.

Science Workshop: Satellite Navigation and the Three-Body Problem

Please join us for our next Science Workshop on Friday, November 30th when visiting mathematician Michael Reardon will discuss his work in the area of satellite navigation. The abstract of his talk is presented below.

Lunar Transfers and the Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem

The Vermont Lunar Lander CubeSat Program is a collaborative effort by students and faculty from four VT colleges and universities with the goal of navigating a small (~10 cm3 ) satellite to lunar orbit. In the first part of this talk I will discuss my role in the project, which was to investigate the feasibility of lunar transfer methods for both low and high thrust propulsion systems. The second part will focus on the mathematical model used to describe the trajectories of satellites in the presence of two gravitating bodies: the Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem (CRTBP). As we will see, the CRTBP provides valuable insight into the problem of lunar transfer trajectory design. Furthermore, the CRTBP is also possessed of a rich dynamical structure whose study provides a window into the world of nonlinear dynamics and chaos.


Today’s Science Workshop

Please join us today at 1:00 in Dickinson 225 for our weekly Science Workshop. Faculty member Hugh Crowl will be giving a talk entitled “When Bad Things Happen to Good Galaxies: Galaxy Transformation in the Virgo Cluster.” As always, delicious and whimsical snacks will be available.


Next week’s speaker is Bennington’s new faculty member in computing, Andrew Cencini. The title of his talk will be “Cloud Control: An Open-Source IPMI Library for Embedded Microcontrollers.” A full list of upcoming Science Workshops and an archive of past speakers is available here.