Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virginia Tech Physics Professor Creates One Of First Astronomical Java Programs

Date:
October 27, 1999
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
John Simonetti, associate professor of physics at Virginia Tech, has created Sky Image Processor (SIP) so his students can display, process and analyze astronomical images anywhere they have access to a computer--in a laboratory or even in their dorm rooms.

BLACKSBURG, Va.--Netscape, Mosaic, Yahoo!, SIP.

SIP?

Sky Image Processor (SIP) is "one of the first full-fledged astronomical Java programs" and, like Netscape, Mosaic and Yahoo!, it "has come from the classroom," according to Sky and Telescope, the premiere magazine for amateur astronomers, in its November 1999 issue.

John Simonetti, associate professor of physics at Virginia Tech, created SIP so his students could display, process and analyze astronomical images anywhere they have access to a computer--in a laboratory or even in their dorm rooms. Anyone knowing the web address http://www.phys.vt.edu/~jhs/SIP can access Simonetti's Java "applet" from the Internet.

"Most students have experience running a browser program," Simonetti said.

"They can run SIP in their browser without installing another program." Also, any updates to the SIP program are added to the web page and received by the students automatically when they access the SIP web page.

Simonetti made the program simple because he wanted students in astronomy laboratories or observational astrophysics classes to be able "do the kind of work that real astronomers do" without having to grapple with the complexities of professional astronomical image-processing programs. Since the program is available over the web, students at any institution, not just Virginia Tech, can use it.

SIP has many characteristics that are of help to students. Not only can students combine images, much like laying one picture over another, but they can easily understand how to use SIP to analyze images (for example, when taking statistics within an image). SIP handles digital images. "A digital image is just an array of numbers," Simonetti said. "Any simple arithmetic you can perform with two numbers can be performed with two overlying images in SIP--addition, subtraction, multiplication and division." SIP can even enhance fine details in images using simple image arithmetic. In addition, students can save their work, something many Internet programs do not allow, according to Sky and Telescope.

SIP was created with computer security issues in mind. "SIP can access images from the Internet or from your own hard drive," said Stuart J. Goldman in Sky and Telescope. "To blindly allow a downloadable program access to your hard drive is foolhardy," Goldman wrote. "To ensure its integrity, SIP is a 'signed' applet, meaning that the author has certified it and provided an electronic signature of approval."

For one thing, the Java programming language makes SIP more secure than a random program downloaded from the Internet, Simonetti said. Also, Simonetti's digital signature assures the person accessing the program that it has not been tampered with by someone else because tampering would destroy the signature much as opening an envelope breaks the seal, Simonetti said.

Another form of security assurance occurs when the program asks the users if they would like to read or write an image on their own disk. It will present them with a dialog box alerting them to the action that the program will attempt. The same is true if they want to download an image from a site other than the SIP website. If the user wishes to prevent SIP from performing any of these procedures, it's as simple as clicking on the appropriate choice in the dialog box.

Simonetti received initial funding to develop the program from Virginia Tech's Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and has continued to expand and improve the program.

Simonetti received his doctorate in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Cornell University in 1985. He was a Jansky Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory from 1985 to 1987. Since then he has been at Virginia Tech. He teaches Introductory Physics, Introductory Astronomy, Introductory Astrophysics and Observational Astrophysics courses.

During the past few years, Simonetti's research has focused on producing a large-scale digital imaging survey of the H-alpha emission from the interstellar medium of our Galaxy, with results bearing on our understanding of interstellar structures (e.g., superbubbles) and on searches for anisotropy in the cosmic microwave background radiation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Virginia Tech Physics Professor Creates One Of First Astronomical Java Programs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 October 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991027072610.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (1999, October 27). Virginia Tech Physics Professor Creates One Of First Astronomical Java Programs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991027072610.htm
Virginia Tech. "Virginia Tech Physics Professor Creates One Of First Astronomical Java Programs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991027072610.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) MIT researchers developed a light-based sensor that gives robots 100 times the sensitivity of a human finger, allowing for "unprecedented dexterity." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oculus Reveals New Virtual Reality Headset Prototype

Oculus Reveals New Virtual Reality Headset Prototype

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Oculus announced a new virtual reality headset prototype Saturday, saying the product is close to being ready for consumers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Protect Your Data In The Still-Vulnerable iOS 8

How To Protect Your Data In The Still-Vulnerable iOS 8

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) One security researcher says despite Apple's efforts to increase security in iOS 8, it's still vulnerable to law enforcement data-transfer techniques. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins