PI: Shayna Berman


Shayna Berman


Lukas Perttula

Past Members:

Ian Norfolk

Reid Allenstein

Prescott Kelly


RECON had another occultation on the 20th of December, which did not go according to plan. The computer had issues. We left the wifi for the computer on, which allowed our software to update. This made the computer unusable until we decided to risk stopping the update. By that point, the telescope had ceased to work, which we found out later was because it needs to update. We will be fixing this as well as fixing the computer, which is having different issues finding files.


RECON had it’s second event on the 18th of November, and was able to set up and get on the star field in time to record data. We are still going through the data, so it is unknown if we were able to see anything that night. Although, since we were able to set everything up and record I would call this event a success.


RECON had an event on the 27th of October. We failed to set up on time and collect any data. We hope to be more efficient at the next Occultation next week on the 18th of November.


No upcoming RECON events. Priority is on spectroscopy research and preparing Shayna Berman to take the reins of RECON.


Today the RECON team coated our current telescope case in weather proof paint to reduce the future development of mold. We also ordered a spectrometer and are starting research into utilizing that technology.


Today the RECON team eviscerated the mold that was found within the telescope case. The valiant work by our Prescott Kelly laboriously coating the mold in bleach has come at the sacrifice of his pants.


RECON is now entering into the wrap up phase as the two veteran members Ian and Reid prepare to leave Shayna full control of RECON. The previous two events were unsuccessful. The first was due to the extreme dimness of the target star and the second due to catastrophic camera failure. This week we have been making progress studying new technologies such as spectrometry but we have a setback as our current telescope storage space is developing black mold. This will most likely result in us constructing a new storage option for the telescope and thoroughly weatherproofing the casing.


We have two upcoming events this week for RECON. We will be testing ASCOM software today and preparing for the events. The team made progress as the ASCOM software was able to acknowledge a connection but, we were not able to assume control over telescope’s motors.


RECON has spent these past 2 weeks mainly on organizational aspects. All current RECON members have to complete an article for the Inquirer, so this week was dedicated to submitted the pitches for each members article. Due to board consensus I have dedicated two RECON members (Reid and Prescott) to some house keeping on the WISRD website. The RECON team has also started progress on the poster for the spring poster presentation. We are currently thinking about remarking on the retrospective of RECON for the past four years. In terms of research, the RECON team analyzed the January 6th event and no occultation was observed.


This past month has been very complicated for the RECON team. Many of our previous plans have been adjusted due to external factors. Due to JWST launch schedule changing to Christmas morning, our team cancelled the presentation. We will still most likely be publishing some form of media on JWST in the near future. We also had terrible luck as three RECON members were quarantined under COVID exposure protocol during the same week that two events appeared. Luckily, the work of Shayna and GAVRT member Lukas were able to still operate for the event on January 6th but we did not report for the event on the 10th. The goal for the next coming weeks is to work on publications and to make sure the ASCOM system is fully operational.


This past week RECON has been dedicated to researching the capabilities of ASCOM. The aforementioned event was a failure due to terriblest weather (completely overcast). But, this failure informed us that our ASCOM software was not working properly. Currently we are working on understanding how to connect and utilize this software.


RECON has returned from Thanksgiving break. The team has spent the last couple of weeks working on review material like the CVs and interviews with WISRD COO. Upcoming this week on Wednesday night is a RECON event of classical KBO.


Yesterday WISRD organized the 7th annual fall poster presentation! RECON successfully exhibited the work we have completed in the past six months with two posters. One poser described the events of the Las Vegas trip (listed below) and the other went into more detail about the data analysis aspects of RECON.The guest speaker was Olivier Guyon, a French astronomer and telescope technician. His presentation was hosted by RECON’s very own Reid Allenstein! Overall the poster presentation was a success.


WISRD’s RECON team attended a conference in Southern Nevada. Hosted by Marc Buie and John Keller of CU Boulder the objectives of this team meeting was to (1) record data of Eurybates occultation (2) discuss past RECON findings. The RECON team arrived to the CSN (College of Southern Nevada) Planetarium and began meeting with other teams from around the country. We were given a private tour of the planetarium and its accompanying museum. We went into presenting and discussed the campaign and its goals as well as what Lucy is. For context Lucy is a mission named after the earliest human known. The goal of the mission is to visit Jupiter’s trojans and learn more about the early Solar System. After the presentation the RECON team divided into observation teams for the main event and was split into E18 and E13. The next morning at 3:30 am the teams set up their equipment in the CSN parking lot and practiced observing the target. Both teams were successful in the practice event, the E13 group decided to drive to the site prematurely to get a lay of the land.  After that all teams returned to the hotel for sleep.

The next day had more presentation this time regarding the research gained over the past few months by Marc and the RECON team. He describe his research in detail from events in Spain, Senegal, and Texas. From Marc’s description the campaigns seemed to have been successful and good data was received. The second half of the presentation was spent reviewing the practice night and troubleshooting issues. The presentation concluded and teams prepared for the dress rehearsal that morning. The dress rehearsal was when all teams practiced the event in the desert as if it was actually occurring. This was successful for both teams.

Finally the last day of conferences involved introducing new software lien PyMovie and PyOT to the RECON teams as well as more troubleshooting from the dress rehearsal. After the meetings concluded the teams went to the sites the next morning and observed the occultation of Eurybates. Both teams did not observer the occultation. One due to being too far south another due to technical errors.

P.i. Ian Norfolk wearing a WISRD shirt next to the E13 telescope.

Team member Reid Allenstein working on the telescopes imaging.

RECON team working out bugs in the system.

All RECON team members left to right: Shayna, Ian, Reid, and Prescott.


This week productivity is solid. Shayna and Ian have completed the presentation for the Lucy launch party. Prescott is continuing to work on the video for the James Webb presentation which seems to be taking longer than expected. Reid Allenstein has been using Python to install the CIAO software onto SAOimageDS9. When this is complete RECON will be able to make light curve graphs out of their occultation images and analyze their data effectively.


The WISRD RECON team was alerted by the main researchers of an upcoming training and observation event hosted in the desserts north of Las Vegas. All team members sounded excited and seems like we will have all 4 members and 2 supervisors attending this event. The RECON meeting will including training sessions, informative presentations, and a major occultation event to get thorough information on a Trojan that the Lucy Mission will land on.


The team at RECON is closing in on their goal of being able to analyze occultation events they have taken part in. Presentations for the launch parties of the James Webb telescope and the Lucy Mission are also being completed in preparation for their respective launches.


This week in RECON the team is attempting to complete a multitude of tasks. The upcoming presentations and launch parties are the main task on our agenda as new members Prescott and Shayna work on compiling media together. We have also began analysis of the September event with SAO.


RECON is gaining some exciting news about the upcoming occultation season of October. Our previous collaboration with the Lucy mission has been expanded as we are expected to participate in 4 events in October to gain more information on Lucy’s targets in the Solar System.


This week the RECON team has gotten a lot of work done. Reid has started the process of analyzing the September 4th RECON event’s data. Progress was made for the James Webb Space Telescope presentation and NASA has announced that the launch will occur on December 18th. New member Prescott and Shayna have efficiently adjusted to RECON with Prescott handling new media duties in producing a video and Shayna doing research on RECON’s past operations.


RECON has attended the 1st Occultation event of 2021. Last Saturday at 2 am the RECON team observed a TNO occult a star. We also got to enjoy the company of a possible new RECON member. Shayna attending the meeting along with new member Prescott. This week the agenda is on finishing the presentations for the Big Bear astronomy club and the JWST launch party.

RECON is back from summer. The WISRD RECON team has lots of plans for the upcoming year both publication and research wise. We plan to host multiple events this year including launch parties for the Lucy and James Webb space telescope launch. We will also be presenting at the Big Bear Astronomy Club representing both RECON and WISRD. The biggest plan for this year is the full construction of the WISRD Big Bear Observatory. We are still working on the design but it is reaching finalization stages and we hope by the end of the year to have fully constructed and operational observatory.

Current CAD design for the observatory. It will use a garage door system with one or two servo motors pulling a belt to move the observatory door. We plan to make modular walls for transport efficiency and lay a concrete foundation.


A quick update from the RECON team. We are still analyzing the Patroclus data and will soon be crafting a visual component we will release to the public. Other then that not much of major importance has gone except we would like to formally announce that Prescott Kelly will be interning with us for the entirety of the summer interneship period.


The Mother’s Day event was a smashing success. At 1:30 am on Mother’s Day the WISRD RECON team observed the Jupiter Trojan Patroclus occult a star within the Scorpios constellation. This occultation was so apparent the star was fully obscured behind the asteroid. This was also the first test at the Big Bear RECON viewing location sadly only member Joe Wise was able to be there. We also welcomed out temporary intern Prescott Kelly to his first RECON event which must’ve been exciting for him.

Members of the team preparing for observation (top – bottom, Joe Wise, Ian R. Norfolk, Reid Allenstein, and Prescott Kelly)

Examine the star at the center of the first image. This two photos are of the target star being occulted by the Trojan being attempted to be observed. This data will go on to help NASA with the Lucy mission on its intention to explore Jupiter’s Trojans in more detail than ever before.


This Mother’s Day morning at 1:30am the Wildwood RECON group will involved in occultation observation for NASA’s Lucy mission. This event will also be the first event done at the new Big Bear property as we have been requested to observe Patroclus, Lucy Mission’s occultation target, in Big Bear as we would be in chord with another group in Inyo county. This is a major event for RECON as Lucy will be launched this fall and eventually will be visiting the occultation target and many other asteroids.


Tonight at 11:30pm we have a RECON event observing the TNO Hi’iaka occult a star in the Bootes constellation. We also have been asked to help view observation for the future launch of NASA’s LISA project. We will observe some Trojans to help researchers and engineers during these early development days.


This week the RECON team has an event on Thursday the 15th at 11:30pm. The WISRD RECON team’s main agenda of the past week has been on the designing of an observatory as we have intentions of setting up the WBBO (WISRD Big Bear Observatory) which will be the real world position of our fully autonomous system in the future.


I take my previous statement back. In this event we experienced alot of technical issues. The software timing, exposure settings, GPS problems, the compatibility of our LX200 telescope with the actual 30 GPS satellites. We will be running diagnostics and checks over the next week but safe to say this event did not go as planned.


We have a RECON event tonight. Should go fine as most of our previous events have gone well as of the recent year.


The RECON team has an up and coming event on the 16th. We are very excited as this event’s occultation is near Los Angeles county meaning we have an incredibly high chance of seeing it. We are still working on the implementation of PyMovie but the progress is visible.


RECON has been very inactive as previously stated but a new event is happening on the 16th of March. Currently the team is working on switching to a new analysis software, PyMovie. This should help us get some solid data on our observed occultation events to send to the RECON team.


No event this week so RECON will be taking it easy but we do have the Spring Poster Session coming up so we will need to begin to prep for that.


We had a successful RECON event on Friday and are preparing for the event on Thursday afternoon. RECON has also started work on a white paper which is about Urban Astronomy and best practices for doing it.


The WISRD RECON team has multiple events coming up the next month. An event on the 8th, 14th, and the 31st.


The RECON team in Boulder has announced 2 new events for us to take part in! On December 22nd and January 8th we will be partaking in some occultation observations.


Apologies for the long wait on the next update but RECON is very slow during the Covid-19 pandemic. We have recently been made aware that we have events on December 22nd and January 8th. This is very excited as the December event is a very likely observation for us at WISRD. Both events take place early in the night so minimal sleep lost.


Hello everyone! Since the last post we had successfully done our Dark Matter Day presentation and now we are working on the media side of RECON.


Last night we had a surprise viewing of the Hektor Trojan (the biggest Jupiter Trojan). We have assumed we had a successful viewing as the target was eclipsed from our view. Overall big success.


So we attempted to do a calibration viewing on Monday morning but we unable to due to overcast weather. The main viewing event is tomorrow morning at 4 so we will go and attempt to view but current weather forecast are making this seem bleak.


New update we have a new event coming next week, it will be on the 21st at 4 am. To rehears the RECON team will be meeting at 4 am on Monday to prepare a lock on the object. The object is near the constelation Taurus and will be our 1st scientific use of out new and improved wide angle camera.


Not only did I have my one hour of internship today but I also spent 1 hour working on the podcast as there was a technical issue around them. They should be up and working.


This week in RECON we are excited to announce a long time anticipated upgrade to our observation system, a new camera! We have recently purchased a new higher quality camera for the WISRD RECON setup. The upgrades from this new camera are baffling. We gain a much wider FOV (Field Of View) which gives much more opportunities to see the occultation. Higher resolution which means prettier pictures and overall higher qulaity upgrades. A big upgrade just from purchasing a new camera is the reduced number of hot pixels letting us get accurate readings and not mistaking a star for a hot pixel. Overall great day!


The RECON group has official published the findings on TNO (523764) 2014 WC510. This TNO turned out to be a binary system that the Wildwood group directly observed. This TNO group also occulted 2 stars which is quite an uncommon occurrence overall a great success.



Sorry for the lack of updates lately but the occultation business hasn’t been that great due to the cancelation of observations by the RECON team at Boulder. Both members of the Wildwood team will be attending back to school night to represent WISRD for the parents.


The RECON team has returned! After a summer break that the RECON leaders at Boulder CO imposed we have returned to the WISRD (still digitally though). This year we have plans on the continuation of the DWAN ROC program as well as designing and building the permanent observatory for the telescope.


After the successful test if the DWAN ROC system the WISRD RECON team is now intending to establish a full time housing observatory for RECON’s 12 inch Cassegrain telescope.  Our current is to request permission from the neighboring West Side Tower to place our system on top of their building. The reasoning for this is to have more visibility of the night sky and to have a reduced amount of light pollution.


This weekend RECON attempted its very first remote occultation of a TNO. Using the DWAN ROC system the WISRD RECON team was able to successfully navigate the night sky. Unfortunately due to poor weather we were unable to record any information. This event was a valuable learning experience for the DWAN ROC system and has sent waves in the development process.


This week WISRD hosted its first online poster presentation which went very well. The RECON team presented a great poster which the people gathered enjoyed. Our presenter was a scientist from NASA who was an expert on exoplanets. She had a very well thougth out presentation that covered topics that are sometimes forgotten.


The RECON team has recently completed the poster for the up and coming poster presentation.  We have also started preperattons for the May 10th event to test the DWANE ROC prototype during an actual occultation event.


Hey guys, the RECON team here to give a little update on whats going with us and the astronomical community as a whole. Currently a likely interstellar comet has entered the solar system. If you have powerful telescope you may be able to take a glimpse. For the RECON group we have been busy working publications. Until next time.


A new update for all you RECON fans, as we are no longer able to operate the RECON telescope we will have to put the RECON and the new ROC-DWANE projects on hold. Whilst this is happening the team will still be working on a large research paper and we also be operate telescopes on an amateur scale.


This is the official announcement for the new ROC-DWANE initiative. ROC-DWANE stand for the Remote Occultation Controller (R.O.C.) Digital Wireless Assistance Network Endeavor (DWANE). This enterprise is mainly focus on create a system for the telescope with the hopes that one day it will be able to be operated completely autonomously. This is an exciting new step for RECON.


Since the last journal update we have participated in showing of RECON in the InnovatedLA Conference and we have also resparked are initiative for creating an autonomous telescope system. Yesterday we where able to control the telescope autonomously and we are planning on figuring out how to do RECON events remotely.


We are celebrating a new year for RECON as we presume the funding has been reinstated and because of this we have a lot of events coming up. We have an event coming up tonight which will be the 1st test for the new assistant operator Reid Allenstein.


The RECON Occultation events have been really sparse. So far it doesn’t appear we have an event for the next month and we are waiting for an update soon.


We have been having a pretty interesting and exciting couple weeks. We have participated in 2 events 1 of which is successful. We have one more event this month but we will not be participating in it as P.I. will not be available.


We have an event on Monday morning at 2 AM and last weeks event is being analysed.


Last night’s event did not go as planned, to say the least.  We experienced mechanical failures and electrical failure.  Also, we have a new PI who is by himself (me) and my experience is lacking which made my speed for an already time-crunched schedule out of control.


We have analyzed our recent event and will be sending our data to the RECON core team.


As of the current date, things are going smoothly for the arrival of the conference.  The occultation on the 10th was sadly unsuccesful fue to poor weather and timing. We have not been updated on the next event and will be preparing for the confrence from here,


We have made much progress over the last few months. We have been through a dozen or so occultation events. Ian Norfolk has been nominated to represent us at the Boulder City RECON meeting.


There is a RECON occultation event coming up on March 31st at 11:24 UT. This is an early morning event in which Amalthea will be occulting the 14.4 magnitude star 4UC 363-101590. This is a good opportunity to observe an occultation because based on the viewing-map, we should be in optimal position to see it. We are trying to arrange this opportunity into a more public event by advertising it around the school. We will also need to schedule days to practice techniques in order to observe the occultation. Below is further information concerning the occultation event. 


We are investigating the possibility of getting a set of solar filters for the Meade 10″ so that we can expand its use to solar astronomy as well. We would need a hydrogen-alpha filter, which poses a bit of a price challenge. Additionally, there is a RECON event coming up this Saturday night/Sunday morning at 1 am. The practice will be on Friday night at 10 pm.


There is a RECON event coming up on the 17th of this month, and a practice will be held the Friday before, not he 10th, after the SMAAC meeting. We also now have cables to connect the telescope to the laptop, and it will be tested at the practice.


I finally got a light curve from the January observation using LiMovie on the new laptop, but at first glance, it doesn’t look like we observed an occultation. There is an issue of static bars progressively scanning down the feed from the camera, which causes some interference and needs to be sorted.


We received the RECON laptop. The telescope is a Meade LX200 12″, and can be connected to our laptop using RS-232 protocol. For this, we need an RJ[something] connector to connect to the telescope and a USB head for the computer. TheSkyX Professional is now being downloaded onto the laptop. We also need to download the cwrsync tool.


We have ordered a laptop for RECON use, and a serial to USB adapter, so that the telescope can be connected to the said laptop, allowing us to control it.


We downloaded TheSkyX Professional edition from Bisque software, which will allow us to control the telescope remotely as well as doing our own dark field subtraction to more accurately analyze our own data.


As of today, Wildwood has at least partly participated in a total of 10 viewings in coordination with RECON.


Figure 1: RECON Sites

Next viewing: 2016/10/24 06:11:34 – 06:27:46 UTC




Overview: RECON (Research and Education Collaborative Occultation Network) is a new project that works to better understand the outer reaches of our solar system. There are about 50 telescopes stationed all up and down the western coast of the United States, each of which is manned by students, amateur astronomers, and professionals. Each member of RECON works to gain a more in-depth knowledge of Trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), of which there are more than 100,000, and of which we have a


Figure 2: RECON Logo

relatively low understanding, by monitoring the change in brightness of stars as these objects pass in front of (occult) them.

Viewing conditions near our site:

Bibliography: RECON