Published: September 15, 2008
Ms. Thomas and her students researched infrared, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and cataclysmic variables. She and two students researched properties of cataclysmic variables and the previous project WZ Sge. They visited the SSC at the end of September and reduced the data. Her team obtained multi-wavelength data from both the Spitzer Space Telescope and optical B-band light curves from CTIO (0.9 m) in Chile. Data was collected for Z Cha at 4.5 and 8.0 microns on May 14, 2008 by Spitzer and March 28 2008 from CTIO. They used IRAF and DS9to reduce the infrared data. The data was phased, light curves and SED's were created to help us better understand the components of the system. The two light curves from infrared and optical were compared to each other as well as their previous CV, WZ Sge. In the next two months teachers and students from the group will be creating more educational activities to use in the classroom to help teach more about CV's, stellar evolution and the research process. We will be presenting a poster at the AAS meeting in January. Ms. Thomas' two students, Whitney and Megan, are proposing to do a science fair project pertaining to their research experience.
During the summer camp Ms. Thomas taught to 8-10th graders in July, the students learned about the electromagnetic spectrum, made spectroscopes, imitated Herschel's experiment to measure infrared radiation learned about the Spitzer Space Telescope.