Published: April 15, 2008
Students working on the original Spitzer AGN project have completed their work on the followup project to measure the redshift of S50716 +714. Using the Spitzer's IRS instrument, students Alekzandir Morton and Thomas Travagli obtained the spectra of the quasar they observed last year with MIPS and IRAC. The students wrote the proposal to use IRS and thus became the first high school students to have a Spitzer proposal they wrote themselves accepted for observing. With the help of Spitzer scientist Dr. Mark Lacy, the students were able to determine the redshift of their target, which allowed them to refine a model they developed for the radiation coming from the target. Using this model, Alekzandir Morton entered the Junior Humanities and Science Symposium and won 3rd place in the Northern California/ Western Nevada region, which entitled him to go to Orlando, Florida in May to be a non-competing delegate at the National Symposium.
In addition, the student team entered their local science fair (the Contra Costa Science and Engineering Fair) and won first place in the 12th grade physical science category. They won $1000 scholarships (each) at the local fair as well as several special awards. They are taking their project on to the California State Science Fair in May. Last year, they won 4th place in the state with the earlier version of the project.
Along with the other students who do research at Deer Valley High, these students will present their results at a variety of local venues including the Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society, the Stockton Astronomical Society, and the SSP Demo Day at Deer Valley High School.
In other Spitzer news from our school, students JM Santiago presented his work on the WZ Sge project at the local science fair and got a 4th place rating. Trevor Bennett, also a senior at Deer Valley, attended the January meeting of AAS and participated in poster sessions for the science results and helped develop an educational activity to show how eclipsing binary stars change in brightness over time.