STTR Phase I: Development of an Artifical Star Stimulation and Modeling Tool for Astronomy with Science and Teaching Applications

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Solitcitation Year:
Solicitation Number:
NSF 04-551
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Small Business Information
Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.
87 Church Street, East Hartford, CT, 06108
Hubzone Owned:
Woman Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Principal Investigator
 Eric Rubenstein
 (860) 528-9806
Business Contact
 Michael Serio
Phone: (860) 528-9806
Research Institution
 Yale University
 Charles Bailyn
 P. O. Box 208337
New Haven, CT, 06520
 (203) 423-3022
 Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I research project's objectives are to build and validate an artificial star simulation application for the study of astronomical objects, and to assess its commercial potential for the professional and serious amateur astronomer communities. The prevalence of modern light detectors has ushered in a golden age for astronomy due to their outstanding characteristics. However, their high-fidelity nature does not help in disentangling the images of objects blended together in crowded fields. While powerful techniques have been developed to solve this problem, they are cumbersome to use, requiring substantial human and computational effort. What is needed is an optimized automated software package that can be routinely used by the astronomical community. This proposal focuses on furthering the development of advanced artificial star tests, and making the resulting suite of tools available to the wider community. In addition to this modeling and simulation work the company will collect and analyze validation data and develop a graphical user interface to increase the usability of the software. The software developed during this project will be comprised of largely public domain and/or open source scientific routines with a proprietary graphical user interface. The company will assess the economic opportunities for producing training materials for the increasingly sophisticated amateur astronomical community. Placing powerful tools in the hands of near-professional amateur astronomers will further raise the value of their contributions to science. Additional related software products may also be developed to both educate and guide amateur astronomers who already use high quality digital CCD cameras in their home and club observatories. The company is also investigating opportunities for using these techniques in satellite imagery analysis for both commercial and military applications to terrestrial data. As commercial satellite imaging expands to a multibillion dollar per year industry, advanced analysis tools become increasingly valuable. Likewise, the military's increasing dependence upon optical and hyper-spectral imagery suggests that the ability to analyze images near their resolution limit will remain an essential strategic and tactical requirement. Portions of this work may be applicable to these Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) activities.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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