Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 18

This morning, I read a paper on finding nearby, young, low-mass stars. It was interesting and it will help me with what I'm working on now. The process described in the paper for finding the stars is very similar to what I'm doing, except it is much more in-depth and they use UV's instead of X-ray's. I also learned a lot from the paper too like the difference between the proper motion, radial velocity, and space velocity of a star, which confused me for awhile.

Coffee time was quite amusing today. Evelyn and I insisted on going even though it was down pouring . . .we got soaked on the way there! Of course, it completely stopped raining five minutes after we arrived. Anyways, neither Matt, Evelyn or I had enough money to buy anything on our own, so we pooled our change to buy a cookie. After our cookie, we were all craving milk but a small glass cost two dollars and we only had 1.75. So we played the trivia game where if you win, you get half off your drink, but if you lose you have to put 50 cents into the tip jar. Luckily, the cashier felt bad for us and gave us a hint as to what the right answer was, so we were able to buy a glass of milk, success! The cookout was really fun today and we got to eat outside because it wasn't raining. In the afternoon, I started compiling slides and images that I want to incorporate into my final project.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 17

Today Joel informed me that V4046 Sgr and T Cha were not present in the final lists of possible companion stars that I sent him. I went back through the process on Topcat and ended up increasing the proper motion parameters to +/- 15 km/s instead of +/- 10 km/s for V4046 Sgr, and increasing the J-K magnitude parameters to .8 - 2.1 for T Cha. Joel also informed me that the companion star that we should find for TW Hya, which is called TWA 28 (brown dwarf), was not present in the final list either. I investigated and realized that TWA 28 is not in the UCAC3 table that I downloaded. Therefore, we will have to use only the PPMXL table for TW Hya so that TWA 28 is present.

For lunch today, Evelyn, Kelsey and I went to eat on these giant stairs we found in Global Village. Well, they aren't really stairs but they are right next to a staircase and look very similar to it besides for being 10 times bigger. In the afternoon, after completing what I explained above, I attended a talk about the history of imaging. I thought it was very interesting to see how imaging has evolved throughout time, because it has many practical applications in the world today.

Day 16

Today, we visited the space weather lab in the morning. It was cool and they said that they are predicting when a "storm" will hit mars in the near future. Afterwards, I spent the morning finding possible widely separated companion stars to V4046 sgr, TW Hya, T Cha, and MP Mus using Topcat. I have to download tables from the 2mass catolog and the PPMXL catolog (using the VizieR catalogue service), and then manipulate/match them to find all possible companion stars. During lunch, we watched a movie about presenting and using Powerpoint. It was very interesting and I hope I remember some of it for when I start creating my final presentation! After lunch, Joel realized that the PPMXL catalog I was using to find the proper motions of the possible companion stars was untrustworthy, so he instructed me to try using two other catalogs (Tycho-2 and UCAC2). Of course, just as I was finishing this process, he realized that I shouldn't be using those either! So I had to go back through one more time using the UCAC3 catalog which (I hope) is the correct one.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 15

Today, Joel gave me a project to work on while Rudy is gone. I'm not sure if it exactly relates to what my final project will be, but if I get enough done with it before Rudy comes back, maybe I will present it along with my final project. Basically, I am now working with very young stars, instead of PN (dying stars). I am trying to find widely separated companion stars to certain binary systems. Using Topcat, I first find all of the 2mass sources within 15 arcmin of the binary star. Then I limit the results by only selecting the sources with a K magnitude of less than 12, and a J-K magnitude between .8 and 1.2. Next, I load a table of all of the PPMXL(position and proper motion catalog) sources within 15 arcmin of the binary onto Topcat. Finally, I match the the limited 2mass table with the PPMXL table and choose the stars closest to the target (binary) star that could be a widely separated companion star. I love my job!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 14

Today we went on our first field trip to Rochester Precision Optics! To my surprise, a party bus picked us up . . .and we toured their manufacturing building and saw how they made lenses. Afterwards, we all went to pizza hut for lunch. When we got back to RIT, Joel instructed me to do some research on previously observed x-ray emitting planetary nebulae. I made an excel sheet with the name of the PN, the X-ray observatory used, the count rate, the observed flux, and a reference from the paper in which it was published. In the process, I learned a lot about other X-ray observatories used other than Chandra, including XMM newton, Exosat, Rosat, and Einstein. According to Wikipedia, Rosat will likely not entirely burn up when re-entering the earth's atmosphere, and parts of it will hit earth sometime between October and December this year! I really hope Wiki is wrong in this case!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 13

Today was a good day! In the morning I did some tutorials on ImageJ. I think it is very similar to photoshop but meant for astronomy and other scientific applications. I'm not really sure what exactly I'm supposed to be learning on it though because I'm not sure yet how I will be using it. We visited Matt and Jason's lab today. As far as I understand, they are improving a program that projects an image of the sun with different wavelengths onto what looks like an enormous beach ball. Also you can use Wii remotes to spin the projection of the sun around and click on different points to learn fun facts about it. It was pretty cool! The cookout today was really fun and we played a very entertaining game of apples to apples. Also, we played frisbee for awhile which was interesting because I am not a very gifted frisbee-thrower. or catcher. Anyways, after lunch I went back to working with ImageJ and researching the chemical makeup of PN. Monday I'm going to ask Joel for some direction on what to do next!

Day 12

Today I spent the morning just researching planetary nebulae and astronomy in general. It was extremely hot (almost 100 degrees!) when we went to coffee so I got a mango-strawberry smoothie. For lunch we ate outside in some shade so we wouldn't melt. In the afternoon, I downloaded ImageJ because Rudy says I will need to use it in the future. Unfortunately he is leaving for the next two weeks so I'm going to be kinda on my own for a little. However, he said Dan and Joel will help/instruct me while he is gone. My task now is to explore ImageJ and become more comfortable and fluent with the program. So far I've taken a few tutorials online, but I have a lot more learning to do!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 11

Today was not a very productive day. In the morning I accessed the mac (with all of the images on it) using my laptop through cyberduck and fixed some of the file names of the images. I went to coffee-time but decided to not get anything . . . I've decided to limit myself to only buying two drinks a week so I don't go broke. For lunch, I ate yummy free pizza and watched a movie in the fishbowl about the challenges of starting a business. Afterwords, I was locked out of the other lab I work in (not the insight lab . . . a lab/office in another building), but luckily I crossed paths with Dan who was also locked out so we went to a random table to work. I didn't have much to do though because I'm not sure what to do next until I talk to Rudy (my adviser). Finally, people showed up to the office so Dan and I weren't locked out anymore, but Rudy was too busy to help me. So instead, Dan taught me some things about planetary nebulae and I did some research on the computer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 10

Today we had a delicious breakfast in the morning. People brought doughnuts, bagels, OJ and even a toaster. Unfortunately I forgot that we were having breakfast today so I ate it at home and wasn't that hungry. Afterwards I went to the insight lab and finished downloading the HST images onto the mac. In the afternoon, I began to select three HST images from each nebula with different filters (F502N, F656N, and F658N) and with the longest exposure time. Using these images, I made regions around the central star, inner and/or outer nebula, and a sample of the space around it. Apparently, I haven't exactly started my final project yet . . .but Rudy has informed me that I will start tomorrow!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 9

Today I spent the morning finishing downloading the HST images. I had a strawberry-mango smoothie at coffee-time which was amazing! However, I should probably choose something with caffeine in it because I can get really sleepy during the day. At lunchtime, we ate inside and discussed plans for having a breakfast tomorrow morning. I can't wait! We also signed up for what to bring to the cookout this Friday as well. In the afternoon, I downloaded the HST images onto another computer (an old mac) to use as a backup. However, the downloads take a longggg time so Dan (super-smart undergrad intern who I share a desk with) is letting me read his book, The Origin and Evolution of Planetary Nebulae, by Sun Kwok that he got from the library. A lot of it is quite confusing, but the parts I can decipher help me further understand PN and what I'm actually looking at in the images I work with.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 8

Today I finally finished collecting all of the 2mass images of planetary nebulae. My next task is to collect more images, this time HST (Hubble space telescope) ones though. For each nebulae, I have to download images that were made using several different filters, but luckily I'm using a website that makes this really fast and easy. I'm very happy its Friday because it has been a long week and I am exhausted!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 7

Today was a really fun day! I got to sleep in. . .which was great! I got to RIT around 12 to go to our first weekly cookout. We had hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, fruit and brownies. It was soooo good. We also played a bunch of fun games that I forgot the names of. Also, the airshow was going on during the cookout and we got too see a bunch of cool planes fly over campus. Afterwards, I continued working on the planetary nebulae, I only have eight left to do! Doing the same process over and over again for each one is getting really tedious but luckily I'm almost done.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 6

Today was an eventful and productive day. There was a fire drill (or real fire?) in the morning around 10ish . . .so after everyone in the insight lab evacuated the building, we decided to go to coffee-time early. Unfortunately, I left my purse in the building so I couldn't get a smoothie today. Today for lunch I enjoyed free pizza and a movie about this entrepreneur. The movie was not that exciting . . .but the pizza was great! In the afternoon, I finished getting the images and regions for 14 nebulae but I still have quite a few left. Highlight of my day: I was informed that I don't have to come in tomorrow until 12 . . . but I will still get paid (basically getting paid to sleep in!).

Day 5

Today I continued my work from last week and manipulated images of planetary nebulae so that I could make the regions around the central star, the nebula, and a sample of the space around it. However, I had a lot of trouble saving the images so that they could be reopened. I ended up having to download a few new programs in order to save the images . . . and start all over! Oh well at least I know I'm doing things the right way now!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 4

Today, I got to use my new laptop that I got over the weekend! Unfortunately, the image mosaic service that I used Friday to find images of planetary nebulae wasn't working, so I couldn't continue with my work from last week. Instead I compiled a list of planetary nebulae images as well as the date they were taken, the exposure time, the filter/grating,  etc, using excel. Using this list, we will sort the images by the filter/grating with which they were taken so we can compare and contrast these images.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 3

Today I learned a lot more about planetary nebulae, what they are, how they form, etc. . . Also, I began to collect images of nebulae at different wavelengths, so that I can combine them into one image and manipulate the image so that the nebula is visible. The next step is to create circular and elliptical regions on the image around the star's center and nebula, and to create an annulus region around the whole thing for a sample of the space around it. Cant wait for monday!

Day 2

Today I spent the morning taking tutorials on IDL (a programming language used for data analysis). Although confusing at first, the tutorials definately helped me understand how to work the program. Also, I went to coffee with the rest of the Insight lab crew and ordered a delicious strawberry smoothie. In the afternoon I began researching planetary nebulae, but I still have a lot to learn!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Day 1

Today we split into three groups and participated in a scavenger hunt! We had a packet of images from around campus, and using a camera, we videotaped each image from the packet that we found. Unfortunately, my group came in 3rd place . .. but we still had a lot of fun!