Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Astronomy Internship - Day 40

Wow... 40 days already. Just a little over 3 weeks left in this internship.

I ended up being relatively productive today. I finally caught up on my sleep. It hasn't fixed all my problems (headache, dizziness, etc...), but at least I'm not feeling like I'm about to pass out all the time.

When I got to the lab today, I called my instructor back at KU and finally got a good grasp on where were going from here. What I hadn't caught from the paper I was given was that the key feature we're looking for is the "Red Giant Clump". This feature has a very distinct absolute magnitude (ie, a brightness from a specified distance of 10 pc) and a known color (temperature).

Thus, if we can identify this on our HR diagrams, we'll be able to (presumably) figure out what the distance is to the cluster as well as how much interference there is thanks to the dust. So today, I went through about 30 stars looking to make sure they were all actually the same color, and then we compared a few of their radial velocities to make sure that they were actually all in the cluster and not stars that are just in the same field of view.

So now we have to take those stars and use them to get the distance and redenning and we'll be moving right along.

I don't know how much I'll be blogging the next few days (not that I've been blogging much since I've been ill). I'm going to be headed to Comic Con here in San Diego in my free time starting tomorrow through Sunday.

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