Tuesday, May 31, 2011

binary stars and beyond!

First couple of days at BU under my belt!

My project this summer includes analyzing the different spectra of (close) binaries. The spectra of these binaries are made up of several different exposures from 9-25 min in length. By looking at the individual spectra that these were composed of, we can possibly see position changes of binaries through the shifts in their absorption and emission lines, and thereby calculate velocities. More to come once I'm further along.

I spent last Friday doing some background reading. Read and took notes on Silvestri et al (2005), West et al (2008), West et al (2011), and Hilton et al (2010). Also did some quick calculations on deriving velocity from wavelength change, and also the relationship between mass, separation, and velocity of binaries.

Things to further read up on:
-how to determine signal-to-noise ratio in spectra
-using the L Halpha/L bol ratio

This afternoon, I read through the chapter on stellar activity in the textbook New Light on Dark Stars: Red Dwarfs, Low-Mass stars, Brown Dwarfs (Reid and Hawley). We also set up the new computers in the lab. I also put together a quick little reminder list of useful idl tricks to have on my desktop. Tomorrow: spectra! (I think)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Summer, New Research

Oh hey blog, long time no see.

I haven't exactly decided if I'm going to keep this research journal going for the next few months or if I should open up a new one (I kind of feel like it would be nice to keep this one for a little).

A lot has happened since I last posted. Astro-related, I finished up my poster for the KINSC Research Symposium in Sept 2010. It was a lot of fun to talk about my summer work, but since then I haven't really looked at stealth galaxies. I did get through sophomore-level astro and physics classes -- success! All in all, it has been a great year.

But it is time to get back to research!

This summer, I will be working with Prof. Andrew West (HC '99) at Boston University, focusing on characterizing and identifying a new sample of binary stars. What this fully entails, I have yet to find out!

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend this past week at the AAS meeting in Boston. SO MUCH ASTRO (in the best way!). I went to lectures on a wide range of topics, heard both Beth and Andrew speak, met some great astronomers, and picked up some great Astro stickers and silly bands.

Tomorrow is my first day of work at BU. Can't wait!