Improved Site on its Way… Follow-Ups, New Look and More
UPDATE: We’re now LIVE! Check it out at www.setilive.org
The long saga of follow-ups has finally progressed to where we can say, as far as we’re able to test it, follow-ups now work and have already been quietly enabled on the SETILive site. We have also been working on how the site looks, how we deliver waterfall data to you and frankly, taking a hard look at what we’ve been asking you to do. So, within a few days, you’ll have what we think is a much-improved site; more responsive, higher waterfall quality, better tutorial and clearer about what’s going on and what’s expected of you. We deployed the changes to the site on today, Tuesday, November 13 at around noon Central Standard Time.
It is a fairly complex task to convert your clicks on a waterfall diagram to a collective decision that it either might be, or is definitely not ET and then send the correct parameters to the ATA so it knows exactly where to look for the signal several minutes later and do this within a deadline. That said, it has taken longer than anyone would have liked and we apologize for that. One part of the reason is that we’ve also been working on both the visible and internal workings of your primary experience, the “Classify” page, including some things specific to the follow-up process.
SETILive gets darker
The first thing you’ll notice is that the Classify page is darker – not in character like Darth Vader or the Dark Knight, but more along the lines of their style of dress. Things are dimmer and more subdued with blues and dark greys replacing the bright chartreuse-ish and grey buttons and borders. So, it a bit less Wolverine and a bit more Thor. The change isn’t just aesthetic, users have suggested that the bright elements on the page make it harder for the eye to see contrast in the waterfall. This should be an improvement.
Focus on finding ET signals
The site will be focused on looking only for potential ET signals when classifying live data (i.e., when follow-ups are possible). There aren’t any new tools for this yet, but we’ll make it clear that it’s OK to skip marking signals that are obviously in more than one beam if you choose to work this way. You can concentrate on checking the beams for signals that appear to be in only one of them before you start marking if you like.
On each new upload of data, there will be up to 12 total waterfall sets and about a three minute “follow-up” window for the group of users on line at that time to check as many as they can for single-beam signals and possible follow-up if enough agree. We’ll let you know how many you’ve classified and how many are available for you to see.
There will be zero chance of getting a simulated signal when live data is available. Although we have disabled simulations for the time being, we will have another round of simulations in the near future, but they will only show up when you would otherwise see normal Archive data.
Waterfalls are a bit better
The waterfalls will have a smoother and brighter background and that should help you pick signals out better. This improvement is the result of combining waterfalls of two different polarizations which used to be served as separate waterfall sets that had basically the same signals from the same beam. An additional benefit is that signals will tend to “fade” (go up and down in brightness) a bit less.
RFI marking a bit easier
In between live data uploads and also when the telescope is inactive, you’ll see Archive data as usual and we will continue to ask that you carefully mark all signals for future analysis – a bit tedious when the same signal appears in multiple beams. To make this task a bit easier, as requested by users, we’ll provide a tool that lets you copy markings from one beam to another. Initially, it will simply delete any markings in one beam, replacing them with those of another, so you’ll have to work out your own way of using it in you workflow, but we hope to make it more flexible in the future.
Some planned features nearly ready that aren’t quite ready for Monday:
- Display of next scheduled telescope change – end of the current session or start of of the next active one.
- Opt-in checkbox on your profile page for email notifications of upcoming active telescope time.
- Telescope operator brief status message mainly for when something unusual happens like unexpected down time due to weather, re-calibration, system problems, etc.
- Target graphics have been replaced by a Kepler field image. The new image will have indicators of the current beam target locations and the target names will be links to improved versions of the old target graphics. Also, the orbit animations they linked to will be improved.
I hope you like the new SETILive. If you’re one of our regular users, thank you very much for staying the course. If you haven’t visited SETILive before or it’s been a long time, please take a look and see what you think. You might want to take the new tutorial even if you’ve seen the old one. After it’s up and running for about a week, we’ll send a mass email inviting all of our users, past and present, to come check us out at www.setilive.org