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New Time-Resolved, Multi-Band Flares In The GJ 65 System With gPhoton

A paper tittled "New Time-Resolved, Multi-Band Flares In The GJ 65 System With gPhoton" has been accepted for publication the Astrophysical Journal and uploaded to arXiv. Coauthored by Chase Million and part of the GFCAT and gPhoton projects on which he is PI, this paper describes measurements of flares on the closest and brightest active flare star(s) observed by GALEX, which therefore represent the best opportunities to observe time-resolved flares at low energies in ultraviolet bands within the GALEX data corpus.


Research Software Engineer Stories interview

Chase Million was interviewed for the Research Software Engineer Stories podcast about his career path including the founding and growth of Million Concepts.


pdr 0.5.0

We have released a new beta version of pdr (the Planetary Data Reader). It includes improved performance, broadened compatibility, a host of convenience features, and a new test framework. Try:
data = pdr.read(planetary_data_file.img); data.dump_browse()
It'll be fun! We'll have more announcements about pdr soon. Check out the new version on GitHub.


software project estimation

Chase Million recently delivered a presentation on his software project estimation research (funded by a fellowship from Better Scientific Software). It outlines a simple, but powerful technique for developing meaningful estimates of the amount of work needed to ensure success for small-team software projects in complex domains. You can watch it here.



Our ephemeris package lhorizon has been published in JOSS. lhorizon helps you find things in the Solar System. It is built around a thick Python wrapper for the JPL Horizons service. It parses Horizons' responses into standard Python objects and smoothly incorporates them into bulk calculation and transformation workflows. It is designed for ease of use, speed, and flexibility. We believe that it is simpler and more performant for many use cases than existing alternatives. For a quick overview of functionality, you can browse the GitHub repository or go directly to these example Jupyter Notebooks on Binder.

marslab demo

`marslab` has continued to mature and more of its core features have become public. Check out Michael St. Clair's presentation demoing some of its capabilities.



We have released a new package in the `marslab` ecosystem named `dustgoggles`. `dustgoggles` is a utility library containing a fun assortment of text-parsing and data-structure-manipulating tools, including Composition, a flexible, antiformal algebraic pipeline-assembly system. You can find it on GitHub here.



We have released an alpha version of a general-purpose scientific library called marslab. We wrote marslab primarily to help fill gaps in our Python-based workflows for multispectral imaging data collected by Mars rovers, but it contains utilities that might be useful in a much wider range of contexts, including:

It is available on GitHub, and we would love to receive comments, requests, and contributions. We plan to release a variety of other utilities based on marslab in the near future.

TESS Guest Investigator observations of AF Psc

A TESS Guest Investigator project led by Chase Million has been selected for inclusion in Cycle 4. "Using AF Psc To Test Flare Energy Partitions With TESS And Swift" will observe the active flare star AF Psc in TESS 20-second cadence mode with several hours of coordinated simultaneous observations in Swift's U-band event mode and XRT. We expect to observe at least one large flare across multiple electromagnetic regimes at high time resolution, providing a rare measurement of flare energy partitions and temporal evolution. Fast quasi-periodic pulsations (QPP) have previously been detected on flares in UV GALEX observations of AF Psc [Doyle et al. 2018] and in TESS observations of other stars [Million et al. 2021], so there is a possibility of also capturing the first multi-band, fast cadence observation of a QPP on a star other than the Sun. Scott Fleming (Space Telescope Science Institute), Isaiah Tristan (University of Colorado), and Adam Kowalski (University of Colorado) are collaborators on the effort.


Planetary Data Reader (pdr) PDART

NASA's Planetary Data Archiving, Restoration, and Tools (PDART) program has selected Million Concepts' proposal to fully develop the Planetary Data Reader (pdr). This Python-based software tool will provide an easy, well-documented, thoroughly-tested, single-point solution for reading the enormous quantity -- over two petabytes -- of observational planetary science data currently stored in the Planetary Data System. The project PI is Chase Million. Michael St. Clair (Million Concepts) and Michael Aye (LASP) are co-investigators. Jordan Padams (PDS ENG Node, JPL) is a collaborator.


LPSC 52 - Chandrayaan-1 M3

Michael St. Clair led a poster presentation at the 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, describing the process and technology around our recent conversion of the Chandrayaan-1 M3 from PDS3 to PDS4 format.

You can read the poster here.

Cool Stars 20.5 - Fast QPPs observed by TESS

Chase Million led a poster presentation at the Cool Stars 20.5 conference, presenting the first discovery of fast (< 5 minute) quasi-periodic pulsations in the TESS 20-second mode data. These measurements were made on observations of nearby M Dwarfs that were requested as part of a GI proposal, also led by Million.

You can read the poster here.


picks: occasional imaging utilities

We have released a small collection of web-based utilities that may be useful to people attempting to work with imaging data like those provided by the Mars 2020 Raw Image site. These include the capability to split and combine three-channel images and to decompose RGGB bayer pattern images into their component filters.


We have released a beta version of pdr, the Planetary Data Reader. pdr has the ambitious goal of making every file and product in the complex, diverse ecology of planetary data instantly ready for analysis in standard Python workflows. It already supports an overwhelming majority of the data hosted in the Planetary Data System (PDS) archives. It is available on Github. Try pdr.read(filename) and see what happens. We'd love your comments, requests, and bug reports.

Chandrayaan-1 M3 and Clementine imaging archives

Under contract from the United States Geological Survey, Million Concepts has produced Planetary Data System 4 (PDS4) bundles containing new versions of:

Our new versions of these crucial lunar data are highly usable and designed to be easily-maintainable for many more decades.

The data are still in peer review at the PDS. See our project page for links to documentation, software, and videos that show the glitchy delights of the Clementine EDR.


Mars 2020

Chase Million and Michael St. Clair have joined the Mars 2020 mission as Collaborators on the Science Team. They will develop software to assist with the scientific analysis of rover data under the direction of Mastcam-Z Co-I Melissa Rice (Western Washington University).


Galex Legacy Catalog ADAP

NASA's Astrophysics Data Analysis Program (ADAP) has selected Million Concepts' proposed GLCat (GALEX Legacy Catalog) project for funding, with our founder Chase Million as PI and in collaboration with Luciana Bianchi (JHU). GLCat will be a massive catalog of all unique extended and point sources detected by the orbital ultraviolet (UV) Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) telescope during its decade-long mission. GLCat will be the most extensive UV sky catalog ever produced, correcting critical issues with earlier GALEX catalogs and including several million new seconds of imaging coverage that have not previously been released in a usable format. We expect it to become an enabling component for scientific investigations in multiple sub-disciplines of astronomy for years to come, and also be a key resource in the design and planning of future ultraviolet astronomy missions. GLCat will build on and vastly extend the scope of our existing GFCat (GALEX Flare Catalog) and gPhoton projects, enable the discovery of UV phenomena visible only at very high time resolution.

Read excerpts from our proposal for more information.

Better Scientific Software (BSSw) Fellowship

Chase Million has been selected as a 2021 Better Scientific Software (BSSw) Fellow. As a fellowship project, he will develop tools and techniques for generating realistic and useful software project estimates that account for the unique circumstances of scientific research. This project is based on workflows already in use within Million Concepts and follows from a workshop on the same topic that Chase presented at the first OpenPlanetary Virtual Conference (OPvCon) in June 2020.


Chang'e-2 Microwave Radiometer LDAP

Million Concepts will be working with PI Matthew Siegler (Planetary Science Institute), Jianqing Feng (Planetary Science Institute), and Paul Hayne (CU Boulder) on a research project recently selected for funding by the Lunar Data Analysis program. The project, "Thermal and Dielectric Properties From the Chang'e-2 Microwave Radiometer," focuses on recalibrating the CE-2 data set and finding synergies between these corrected data and data from other instruments (such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's Diviner radiometer). This new fused data set will enable us to produce more accurate maps of the dielectric qualities and subsurface composition of the Moon than have ever previously been released. This is our third research collaboration with Dr. Siegler, and we are pleased to be continuing to lend our analysis expertise to his groundbreaking work on lunar geology. Read our proposal for more detail on the project.

GFCat 2-minute Catalog presented at NUVA

As output from the GFCat project, Chase Million presented a catalog of GALEX photometric measurements reprocessed from their original 25-minute visit depths to 2-minute cadence. This catalog enables the systematic search of fast stellar variability in the ultraviolet across the entire GALEX corpus. A video of the talk can be found here. A Jupyter Notebook with example workflows is here.


OpenPlanetary Virtual Conference

Chase Million organized the first OpenPlanetary Virtual Conference (OPvCon), and also presented a two-hour workshop on Research Software Project Management.


Apollo 15 and 17 HFE concatenated data sets now available

The Apollo 15/17 Heat Flow Experiment Concatenated Data archive are now available at the PDS Geoscience Node. Read more about this effort here.


GFCat "Six Sigma" sample presented at AAS235

Chase Million presented an initial sample of 400 GALEX light curves with significant (>6-sigma) time-domain variability on timescales less than approx. 30 minutes. The poster can be viewed here.


Mars Science Laboratory

Chase Million and Michael St. Clair have joined the Mars Science Laboratory mission as Collaborators on the Science Team. They will develop software to assist with the scientific analysis of rover multispectral data under the direction of Melissa Rice (Western Washington University).


Planetary Data Workshop

Michael St. Clair presented at the 4th Planetary Data Workshop on improvements to the Apollo 15 and 17 Heat Flow Experiment (HFE) data archive.

Global Entrepreneurship Summit

As a NASA iTech Finalist, Chase Million attended the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in The Hague, the Netherlands. See our NASA iTech presentation here.