Week 7: "Bracing"

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Sunday, July 13, 2014


Nick Durofchalk

The week of July 7th began like every other week, but I wasted no time getting back to work. This week, like the week before, would be one work day short. On Friday, Kelby and Ben were to lead us on a tour of NIST. This tour would last nearly all day, so it didn't seem likely that I'd be able to make it to Goddard after the tour was over. My work for the week consisted mostly of reading STIS-Echelle spectral data of Eta Carinae in IDL, correcting the data for flagged errors, and re exporting the useful information as a new file. I completed this data reduction step for all of the sets of spectra with at least three separate wavelength regions. I plan on finishing the rest of the STIS-Echelle spectra reduction early next week, after running a second pass over the IUE data. In preparation for the fast approaching date of SPS sympoisum and the NASA Intern Poster Session, I felt as though it was important to again run through the IUE data and more carefully analyze the spectra. I believe the main focus of this summer's poster will be the analysis of Eta Carinae's Ultraviolet Emission Profile over the Life Span of IUE. After discussing how poster sessions function with Kendra over lunch on Tuesday, I think I would like the poster to focus on the variance of particular emission lines of iron and other elements over both the individual phases of the binary procession and the multi-phase evolution of the system. But as I mentioned earlier, additional work towards my end goal would have to wait for the following week because of time away from work for presentations by Dr. John Mather at Goddard and Kelby & Ben's tour of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

A picture from NIST of a Standard Mol of three different elements (Liquid water, Carbon graphite, Aluminum, and Copper from left to right).Friday came about and the day welcomed the group of SPS interns with the hot summer DC sun. Kelby rode with us through her daily commute, which to my surprise was more grueling than mine! The commute was longer, included a metro rail transfer to the red line & a shuttle to NIST from the end of the line, and was more crowded than the standard commute for Kirsten and I. Once we finally arrived at NIST, I had to admit that the campus was beautiful. Though I couldn't say for sure whether the NIST campus or NASA GSFC campus was more impressive - both are great places to work! The tour led us through NIST's Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), NIST's multiple electron microscopes, the lab Kelby worked in, the office Ben worked in, and a walk around the outskirts of NIST's cleanroom facilities. As John Suehle, Kelby and Ben's mentor, led us around the cleanroom and its various labs, I gained a new-found appreciation for the microscopic transistors that modern technology is able to create.

After the tour, the group of SPS Interns, along with Kendra and Courtney (two SPS employee's involved with the internship program) headed across the street for lunch at the Dogfish Head Alehouse. We all enjoyed our lunch, and I devoured a delicious barbecue burger. After lunch, half of the interns went with Courtney to the Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Extension, but since I had already gone the weekend before, I decided to skip out. The rest of the weekend went by smoothly and was full of relaxation. On Saturday, the whole lot of the interns, except for Kirsten who was spending the weekend in Philadelphia, went out for a quick seafood dinner in Georgetown, and on Sunday, Jake, Mark, Caleb and I went to a local diner in Dupont Circle for brunch. So the weekend was coming to a close, and on Sunday night I knew it was time to brace myself for the work week to come.

Nick Durofchalk