WEEK 3: Getting Started

Payton B -

This week, I finally began working on analyzing the data we had gathered. I started with the star HD 269662. I took the code that we already had created and I modified it to fit each piece of data we had gathered about the star. For the most part, it was really easy. I just had to change the number 10 to the number 11 everywhere I saw it, then run the code, make an adjustment or two, change all of the 11s to 12s, and do it again. The goal was to get the data gathered by the Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite (TESS) in orbit to match up with the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) on the ground. To do this, I would look at the data gathered on a specific night, then I would change the scale of the graph that the data appeared on to zoom in on the part that the TESS data appeared on. After that, I then changed the TESS data by some constant that would move it up or down and essentially for a best-fit line for the scatterplot formed by the ASAS-SN data. I would then save the results, look at the data for the next night, and repeat this until I did it for every night we had data for this star. In the image below, the blue is the scatterplot of the ASAS-SN data from every night all in one graph and the black is the TESS data from every night all in one graph. As you can see, near the end of the graph, there was a huge spike in the TESS data which means that the star was fluctuating a lot. This is good because this fluctuation is the very thing that we are trying to research.

Picture of graph comparing TESS data to ASAS-SN data

I also had a day where I was unable to go in person to Embry Riddle. During this time, I continued working on my online Python coding course. This week, I learned how to define functions and then use those functions to do certain things.

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    Wow Payton! Your research is super cool! I’m never realized that astronomy and coding are so intertwined. My only question is what exactly does it mean for a star to be fluctuating? I can’t wait to keep learning about your project!
    Dang Payton! Your project is super impressive! You might have answered this question before but I may have forgotten. What data are you collecting from the star? With the TESS data, what constants are being changed to create a better scatterplot? Love hearing about the progress made!
    Hi Payton, it sounds like you are doing something really cool! Just one question, Why does the graph start to fluctuate towards the end of the graph?
    Hi Maddie! The stars that we are looking at are always fluctuating in weird ways. Sometimes they may get bigger or smaller or become brighter or dimmer and we don't know how often these fluctuations occur which is why we are studying them.
    Hi Zoey! The data that we are collecting from the stars is their luminosity which is how bright they are. Sometimes, when we graph the TESS data, it will be slightly higher or lower than the ASAS-SN data, but we want it to appear like a best-fit line, so we shift it up or down by some amount like 0.01 or whatever makes it match the ASAS-SN data. The constant I was referring to was an arbitrary constant that we choose the value of when we look at the data.
    Hi Edie! So I originally thought that this was happening because there was some fluctuation with the star, however, because of how drastic it is, it was more likely a sort of space wind that caused interference with the TESS satellite.

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