Currently pursuing a degree as an astronomy major at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Kim Brenton transferred upon graduation from Montgomery College in Maryland in Spring 2007. She anticipates attending graduate school after experiencing work in the field after completion of a B.S. at Hilo, and is very excited to have the opportunity to work with the CfAO and have some direct hands-on experience prior to graduating. Outside of class, she enjoys photography and illustration, meeting new people, and traveling.

Home Island: Mainland
Institution when accepted: University of Hawaii at Hilo

Akamai Project: Looking Into Looking Out
Project Site: Institute for Astronomy, Hilo (ASHRA Project)
Mentors: John Hamilton and Yoichi Asaoka

Project Abstract:

Located on Mauna Loa, the All-sky Survey High Resolution Air-shower detector (ASHRA) will observe high-energy cosmic ray particles that rain down in the atmosphere. In the final stretch of its construction, the ASHRA team is finishing preparations prior to their anticipated observation. Because the observing instruments are highly sensitive, incoming light from the headlights of nearby cars on the road can easily disrupt and potentially harm these sensitive detectors, costing the team both time and money. My project was to set up a monitoring system by utilizing a webcam that would be located before the observing instruments at the Mauna Loa site, and directed towards the road to monitor for oncoming traffic. Throughout testing, Python was used as the primary programming language to control and interface with the webcam, and Scientific Linux and Fedora were used as the operating systems on the webcam’s control computer. I was able to direct and set up a monitoring system using the webcam and a program written to determine light thresholds for observations. The system was first tested at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and then handed over to the ASHRA team for installation on the actual site on Mauna Loa. This project is essential for observation at the ASHRA site, and will be an example to others setting up and installing webcams.