Week 9: Towards the Finish Line

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Rachel Odessey

It’s hard for me to believe as I start to put together a presentation of my work that the summer will soon draw to a close and with it my treasured days with IDL. I’m looking forward to sharing my work with Eta Carinae next week as well as hearing what everyone else has been doing.

Even though the summer is quickly coming to an end, some new things have still been popping up. On Monday, Drew and Elias took us to the Capitol building, where we went on a tour and then went out to see their committee rooms and hear about what they’d been doing. It was really valuable to hear the process they go through with their hearings and preparations. The day-to-day machinery of the interns and staffers frenetically briefing congress members and aiding them during hearings isn’t the ‘legislative process’ taught in high school gov, even though it’s so much of what goes into Congress’s progress. Before hearing what they’d been up to, I really had no idea what a big role interns and staffers play in our legislature. Also, the Capitol cafeteria at Longworth was one of the best ones from any tour we’ve had this summer, so obviously the whole day was a valuable experience.

At work, I’m working on the hydrogen transition furthest into the infrared of any I’ve worked on this summer, which is called bracket-gamma. We’re hoping it will show us the same pattern as the other ones, high polar density and asymmetry around the axis, but there’s a problem. Absorption from Earth’s atmosphere is also on the spectrum, exactly where we’re expecting to see our much fainter absorption of bracket-gamma. I’ve been working on a way to correct it out of the spectrum, but it’s slow going. I was able to come up with a correction for a few sampled points that looks promising.

Until next time.

Library of Congress was my favorite part of the tour.

Rachel Odessey