Published: March 15, 2007
Students Alekzandir Morton, Thomas Travagli and Manutej Mulaveesala attended the January 2006 AAS meeting in Seattle. The students presented the results of their analysis of data from the observations of S5 0716+714 at a poster session. They received many useful comments and met a number of professional astronomers.
Following the conference the students prepared to enter the Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair in March. They won a first place rating in the 11th grade physical science category and have been invited to the California State Science Fair in May, and they plan to attend.
In the meantime they presented their research to four different classes at Deer Valley High School, were interviewed by the local paper in October, and got mentioned in the local press after the science fair. Here is a link to the article in the Antioch Press. A relevant quote from the article: "The lone team entry from the school won the 11th-grade first-place prize. Juniors Alekzandir Morton, Thomas Travagli and senior Manutej Mulaveesala won with their project A Galaxy Ablaze from Afar, which detailed their use of data collected from both ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope to determine what kind of radiation is emitted from a distant blazar, a galaxy being torn apart by a titanic black hole at its center. The young men also received a medallion from the Yale Science and Engineering Association for the most outstanding 11th-grade exhibit in computer science, engineering, physics or chemistry."
Jeff Adkins did a presentation on the student's research for the California Partnership Academy conference, and another one during the National Science Teacher's association. The student research was used as an example of how to gain access to space probes for classroom use.
The student team members are mostly juniors. They have been working on a followup proposal to use the Spitzer again to take a spectra of it in order to better model the infrared emission.