Friday, July 15, 2011

Great end to the week

Recap of this week:

-Calculated the radial velocities of the WDs in the first sample of dM+WD binaries
-Calculated system velocity of these binaries, and made sure that it was reasonable (after going back and being a little more stringent on my boundaries for signal-to-noise ratios and velocity limits, sigma ends up being a little less than 20 km/s)

-Applied this code to new sample of binaries from Dylan. I now have a file that has plate, mjd, fiber, dM rv, WD rv, system v, # expos, sig-to-noise and time (days/hours/min/sec).

Excited to go through the sample and have a closer look at some interesting pairs, especially considering that this sample has a much higher average number of exposures for each pair. I'd especially like to analyze some very fast binaries and plot out their radial velocities to see if we can get an idea of their orbits.

I started going through the data at the end of the day. Things I looked for: lots of exposures, good quality spectra (higher stns), relatively okay sounding velocities. I then plotted some up just for fun. Here's an example:

I wish I had more time in the day (have to catch a train in an hour), but really excited about continuing with this. What a wonderful way to end the week!

While I was waiting for the sample to run, I was reading Astrobites and and saw this quote by Ed Salpeter about finding the type of research that fits you best:

"For my scientific temperament I needed a field that was more controversial, more open-ended and new, where quick was useful and sloppy did not matter too much because it would all change soon anyway"

I think this is a really nice quote. One of the major reasons I was drawn to astronomy is that sense of urgency behind it all; right now we're at the time where our technology and scientific methods are catching up to each other, and that's extremely exciting place to be. It was nice to read this quote and see that sentiment reflected in someone who has experienced so much in astronomy.

All in all, a great way to end the week.

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