Friday, May 28, 2010

End of my first week

Great past couple of days!

Yesterday I entered my newly found position data into the huge data table and added my notes, from details about to authors and their works to specific values to later go back and verify. I went through the references from Wolf, et al and with the exception of 2 authors, every author was a main author of at least one work cited in the article (yay). I'm planning on going back and checking the data that wasn't referenced in that article and adding more to the table.

Five of us also attended Beth's lecture at Drexel yesterday afternoon. Really great talk. It was very cool to see Beth in an environment outside of Haverford, and see her speak on the topic of our research this summer. It's pretty exciting to know that we're working on such an up-and-coming aspect of astronomy. I was really reminded of that all throughout Beth's lecture and when hearing the questions people asked her afterwards.

Today I focused on doing some reading and then spent lots of time working with IDL to compare gathered and calculated values of luminosity and magnitude, in order to verify the accuracy of the gathered data. I did this through a little IDL function. After very frustrating error messages, I finally got the values I wanted.....but then I attempted to organize these values in a neat, easy-to-read style, and even with Beth literally writing down the coding, help from books and the internet, as well as advice from Maya and Oliver, I have still yet to get this data in two columns. Until Monday....

Although I'm slightly frustrated with IDL at the moment, looking back, I'm extremely pleased with this past week and how far I've come since then. I really hope I still feel this excited about the work that we're doing as the summer continues.

Goals for next week:

-become awesome at IDL -- specifically with plotting graphs, and changing plot formats (hopefully working up to error lines...?)
-clean up new data table and add central surface brightness column
-figure out this column business with luminosity and absolute magnitude

(note to self: ask Beth about alternate names for andromeda, and add ursa major from zucker)

On a side note, I had a great talk with Maya and Oliver about physics and astro at Haverford. I was feeling kind of overwhelmed about the next few years, and they really made me feel better about it all. It's been really nice having Maya, Oliver and Gail around to help me out with programming stuff, and just listening to their astro/physics experiences so far.

Looking forward to the weekend!

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