Sunday, March 4, 2012

Faulkes Observing

Tomorrow night (weather permitting) I am going to be doing my remote observation run for my Observational Astronomy class. Check out this article over at Universe Today for an overview of the how's, what's, and why's. We are using the same telescope, Faulkes North, as in the article, which is generously available to Hawaii students.

This observation run is the main project that we do for the class. Given a choice of project ideas (or one of our own), the idea is to pick a project, write up and submit an observation proposal, do the observation, and then do all the processing and calculations after depending on which project we have selected. Most people who want to do an observation run will have to have their proposal accepted by a telescope committee; luckily, we students fall under the rubric of our professor's time, so we are more or less guaranteed time on the scope. We will be having an in-class telescope committee to do a mock review of the proposals which, actually, will be after I do my actual run. :)

For my project I am going to be measuring the atmospheric extinction and filter transformation coefficients, both of which are used in various calculations when doing astrometry. I selected this project because I thought it would be interesting and useful, with the numbers that I end up calculating hopefully going toward improving other student's measurements. Ideally, they would be sound enough numbers to give them back to Faulkes for general public usage.

More will be coming throughout the semester as I actually proceed with the project.