For your final project, you will study an astronomical object in greater detail than we’ve done in class or in lab, taking on the role of an amateur astronomer. You will work in groups to perform your project, developing an experimental plan and scientific presentation together as a collaboration. However, you will submit a final project paper written by yourself.
In science, we strive to explain how we collected our data and how we analyzed it as clearly as possible. This is so that other scientists can reperform our experiment and (hopefully!) confirm our results. We communicate how we collected the observations, analyzed the data, and arrived at a conclusion as part of a publication in scientific journals. Professional journals are “peer-reviewed”, meaning they are vetted by other scientists for clarity and correctness. A goal throughout your final project is to offer enough details that your work could be peer-reviewed — if a classmate looked at your paper or presentation, they should follow it closely enough to be able to reproduce your work.
For your project, select an object from the list below. You will then examine observational data of that object taken with the Iowa Robotic Observatory. All data products are contained in the LabImage directory on the computers in your lab room, and supplemental materials are available online. You will then produce an astronomical data product (e.g. a tri-color image, a light curve, or animation) with your selected observations, with the help of the online tutorials and other labs performed in class. You’ll lastly make a calculation based on that data, and report your results to the class and your instructor.
Your final project consists of three components: an experimental plan, a short paper, and a scientific presentation. Details for each aspect of the project are available via in the linked documents information.