Week seven: NIST Tour

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Monday, July 25, 2016


Maria McQuillan

This week at NASA was another busy week. I can’t believe the poster session is already less than two weeks away. This week I worked with my mentor to continue to analyze the solar wind and analyze the interaction of solar wind and mercury. We have been able to determine that the slow solar wind is definitely not from a helmet streamer which has the heliospheric current sheet (an expanse of current related to the sun). This is very notable since the density structures we are seeing in the images cannot come from the current sheet which is where some people believe they must originate. This may provide a way to characterize slow solar wind without the heliospheric current sheet and test the current models.

 A beautiful picture of the corona surrounding the sun during an eclipse on the date of the event I am studying.

After another busy week at work we had our first intern tour! This weeks tour was at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The first half of the day was filled with an outreach event to teach a group of middle school teachers some new demos for their classroom. Then we were able to see some of the really cool technology being developed at NIST. One group was working on building and testing a watt balance to measure the kilogram to a crazy precision while another group was working on expanding and developing new technology for computer memory. There are some really cool things coming up in the science world and I can’t wait to see what comes out of some of their research.


This weekend was another fun few days. I went to my first outdoor movie here in Washington DC, and what better movie to watch in DC than National Treasure! Even though it was a bit warm it was still a wonderful time with some great people. Saturday was another hot and humid day, but that didn’t stop myself and a few other interns from going out on an evening hike in a beautiful wildlife preserve.

Maria McQuillan