Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day 30: Presentations

Yet again blogger forgets to post my blog post. Better late than never though, right?

The internship has come to a close. We presented today in front of everyone. I went second to last, and honestly I was so nervous. So incredibly nervous. I felt like I messed up and I felt like I forgot everything. But afterwards people complimented me and told me I did well, and I feel relieved that I didn't mess up.

Insecurities aside, I can't believe that the internship is over. I had such a great time this summer. I learned so much, and really found that I loved astronomy and physics. It helped me figure out what I want to in the future. I am so lucky to have had this amazing opportunity and meet all these great people.

Well, I hope next years interns will have such a great time.

See ya!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2015 Internship Day 27: Determination

Today I worked on my presentation more, and got a lot of it done. I handed it in to Joe for the peer review tomorrow.

Lunch was the final pizza lunch session. I can't believe it's almost the end of the internship!!

2015 Internship Day 27: Powerpoints

Tuesday was a long but productive day at the internship. I wasn't here on Monday since I had a small vacation to Vermont with my family. But I was back at it again on Tuesday, working on my powerpoint. I made really good headway on it, and hope that it will be finished tomorrow. I couldn't work on some aspects of the powerpoint since my laptop was locked in an office and I couldn't get it. 

For lunch I went to a master thesis defense and had some pizza. The master thesis defense was really cool, and although it was some higher level physics, I understood a far amount of it. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

2015 Internship Day 25: Short and Sweet

Today I have to leave work early since I have a family event. I tried to get a lot of work done on my presentation and on the rest of the research that I am working on with Joel. Leander helped me a lot with writing code for some math that had to be done.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

2015 Internship Day 24: Work and Defense

Today was another exciting day. Around ten in the morning Leander, Kristina and I went to see Marcus, a man in our lab,'s Phd defense. He presented on his research on nebulae. I found it really interesting, but there were a few technical terms I was confused on but in general I understood a lot of it, and enjoyed it. After that we returned to the lab and I continued on my spreadsheet.

The last astronomy lunch was today, and I went with Kristina (Leander was helping the other interns) We learned that Marcus got is Phd which was very exciting. I also got to say goodbye to Matt who I had been working next to during the internship.

Leander came back after lunch and began helping me with my list. Unfortunately we had to change what data we were taking down, but luckily it was an easy fix and not really that much of a delay.

Tomorrow I plan to finish up the spreadsheets and generate some graphs, and then work on my presentation.

Also Bob brought donuts which was again very awesome.

2015 Internship Day 23: Research

Today was a really interesting and educational day. Leander and I went to a bunch of the REU students talks. Matt, the REU student in my lab, was presenting his first, so we definitely went to his. It was very educational and very interesting. We saw a few others too. Then I went back to our lab and I began working on the next part of my project. I have to make another table of stars to further see if they are young or not.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2015 Internship Day 22: Graphs and Cards

Today was a pretty fun day for me. I collected the SED graphs I created online together and added them to my star files. I sent all my data to Joel to look over, and I look forward to what I will be doing next :)

For lunch Leander and I met up with the rest of the interns and went to lunch. I had packed my lunch so that was nice and yummy to eat. Then the interns and I played cards for a bit and that was really, really fun. I also worked a bit on my final presentation.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

2015 Internship Day 21: Lists

Today I went through my SAO DSS data and figured out which stars were visible in all WISE wavelengths. I grouped the stars into three sections, definitely there, not visible in all WISE and suspicious stars. (may or may not be there) I also worked a bit on my final presentation and updated my abstract.

Monday, August 3, 2015

2015 Internship Day 14: Working Hard and Excel

EDIT: turns out this blog post was never posted, it was only saved as a draft- but here it is anyways. :)

I excel at Excel. I love using spreadsheets and creating tables and lists. It's one of my favorite things in the world. What does this have to do with my internship? Well the next part of my project involves me using excel spreadsheets to display what I'm doing.

I finished up collecting the images of stars, and I was really excited about that. So Joel Kastner gave me a new job. Look up the stars in SIMBAD (an online archive) and see which ones have papers written about them. Then I read through them and figure out what I can learn about the star, and collect what I learned on a spreadsheet. In addition to seeing if they have papers written on them, I also see if they are actually stars. It's a bit confusing to explain, but basically the images I was looking at are just images around the coordinates, so when I look them up in SIMBAD if the star isn't within 2 arcminutes from the coordinate, then it doesn't show up. This narrowed down the list I was looking at by a lot.

For lunch everyone in my lab went to the Carlson building for the weekly astronomy presentations. The REU students showed what they were working on. They were all really cool and I enjoyed watching them a lot. We also had really good cookies, and brought them back to our lab.

I've been really having fun reading all about these stars and making lists has been fun too.

Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 Internship Day 20:Friends

Today was bring your friend day! I brought my friend Meghan and I showed her a bit around campus and I also showed her what I've been doing. She's not a physics person so I had to explain a lot but it was helpful because it gave me practice for the presentation that's coming up in two weeks.

In the morning we peer reviewed our outlines for our final presentations. I got some good tips, and I am excited to present everything I have been learning about. :)

For lunch Meghan and I went to the grill and had some hot dogs. Then we decided to head to Ben n Jerry's and had a nice dessert of that. It was really yummy and was a great time.

I finished up creating SEDs for the 60 stars that we were looking at, and look forward to what's next.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

2015 Internship Day 19: Biking!

I continued to work on my outline and gathering more data on the stars. Nothing much to report on that, but something exciting happened today: WE WENT ON A BIKE RIDE!

Bob and Joe took the interns on a bike ride today. It was very hot out, and the sun was shining. I was a bit tired today since I was at my part time job late, but I had a fun time. We went along the Lehigh trail and it was really peaceful and beautiful. We also went into Mt. Hope Cemetery which was really gorgeous. We visited Frederick Douglas and Susan B Anthony's grave sites. It was really cool seeing them. Then we went to a local sub shop and had a nice lunch. On the ride back to RIT I got really tired but it's okay because I had a lot of fun. :)

Tomorrow I'm bringing one of my best friends to work here! YAY!!

Outline for final presentation

Title: Young Stars
- Contents
-  What are young stars?
- What are planetary disks?
- What can they teach us?
- How do we observe them?
- What do we do with the data from these suns?
- Results
- Conclusions
- A word about outreach

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015 CIS Internship Day 17: Passwords and Heat

Today, it was ridiculously hot outside. In the few two minutes I spent walking to and from my building to the Carlson building I was dying of heat. (Granted I was wearing a long sleeve shirt) However, inside my building it was really cold. The crazy heat differences are always hard to adapt to. 

Aside from the heat, I had a nice day. I spent it learning how to use a new website to further look at the stars. I also worked on my abstract and outline more. I went over to the Carlson building for lunch and listened to a really cool presentation on wild fires and their effects. That afternoon I was able to finally download Python. 

2015 Internship Day 17: Graphs

I spent most of the day subtracting a bunch of numbers in order to generate a graph of a bunch of stars. (I had around 2000!) Luckily Leander wasn't too busy so I gave him 1000 of the numbers to subtract using Python, (I can't use Python on my borrowed laptop.) 

I generated the graph and then just worked on my outline for the rest of the day. Around 4 Leander and I went to watch Matt's research presentation rehearsal. It was really cool. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 Internship Day 16: Glitter Attack!!

Today was a pretty slow day. In the morning I worked a bit on outreach projects, and just checking some stuff out on stars. Joel was out, and we communicated a bit through email but there wasn't a whole lot for me to do. 

For lunch Leander and I went to Global Village with the other interns and had a nice lunch there. It was really really hot though. 

This afternoon Kristina and I tried out one of our outreach projects. This involved glitter. It was really enjoyable since I love glitter and anything artistic. I was covered in glitter, but I think this project will be really fun. I spent the rest of the afternoon looking online for good places to buy supplies for the project. I also got registered for a website I might be using later on. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 Internship Day 15: Whoa~ We're halfway there...

Whoa~ living on a prayer!

Yep, it's the halfway point of the internship. It's exciting, but kinda sad too. I'm really having fun at this internship. It's really fun, and I'm learning so much. The people in my lab are also really nice, and great. It's been a great three weeks.

Today I finished up researching the stars, then began collecting data in order to create a graph. I got the graph finished, but I want to double check to make sure I collected the correct data before I show it Joel. I'm sure its fine but better to be safe than sorry. For lunch I joined the rest of the interns for the normal volleyball and hotdogs and shish kebabs. The steak shish kebas were the best. (Thank you Matthieu!)

After lunch Kristina briefly met with Leander and I to talk a bit more about Outreach, It went well, and we are really creating some really fun projects. I look forward to what next week brings!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 Internship Day 13: Sleep and Images

I slept in today. There was no morning meeting and I was up late so I slept in. It was really nice, and I felt really well rested. I went into my internship around one, and began to work on finishing all the images of stars. I got a lot of them done, and felt quite proud of myself. I only have a few more to do now. (Like maybe five) So that's pretty exciting.

I know it's pretty brief today, but tomorrow I'll have a lot more to write about.

2015 Internship Day 12: Stars and space forever

Tuesday July 21 was a long but exciting day. I worked on compiling more pictures of stars, and did that for a while, but around six o'clock me and Leander went to the lobby of the Carlson building and accompanied the interns and some REU students to the Mees Observatory. We got some subs from Amelie's and then headed to the observatory. We looked at Saturn, the Moon, and a few star clusters. I really enjoyed it, and had a lot of fun looking at all the stars. I had never seen that many stars before, and it was really amazing. I hope I get to go there again, and star gaze again.

Monday, July 20, 2015

2015 Internship Day 11: Spreadsheets and Code

So today me and Matt worked on perfecting the code I wrote yesterday. There were quite a few problems with it that we had to figure out. It was difficult since it had been awhile since he had used Python, and I was still very much a beginner. That being said, we finally figured it out, and it ran smoothly and it did what we wanted it to do. I also worked more on analyzing the pictures of the stars. It's pretty cool, and I'm enjoying it. I'm hoping to have most of it done tomorrow. I am about a quarter of the way through the data.

Tomorrow is the trip to Mees Observatory which I am very excited about. :D

Friday, July 17, 2015

Day 10: Hotdogs and Pythons

Week 2 of the RIT CIS Internship is complete! Hooray! It's been a pretty cool week. I finally finished the codecedemy Python learning, and began working on some different projects. I also had my birthday and went to Golden Corral and saw a movie. Pretty cool times.

Today was a pretty good end to the week. I supplied the interns with hot dogs for the grill out and they were pretty tasty. I also wrote my own code for Python that Matt still has to test. Writing my own code is really hard. I likened it to taking a week of a foreign language class then moving to the country. Yeah you can kinda get an idea of what's going on, but in general you're really confused and lost. Google helps though. Google definitely helps. And since there is a lot of coding in astronomy, knowing how to do it is important.

Kristina met with Leander and I to go over our Outreach projects. I am really looking forward to trying them out since they involve a bit of arts and crafts which are two things I enjoy.

Next week will be the trip to Mees Observatory, which I am really looking forward to.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


We are analyzing and observing two kinds of data. The first kind of data are of young red stars. Using the coordinates of the stars we are able to observe them at different wavelengths. We compile the pictures of it together to see if its observable across all wavelengths. The main image servers we are using are WISE, 2MASS, and SAO DSS. The images are compiled together using DS9. In addition to comparing data and pictures of stars, we are working on creating Outreach projects. Outreach is a way to educate younger audiences about the Universe, and everything inside it. The projects work to inspire children to pursue astronomy, and teach them something new. One Outreach project is the creation of an interactive way to teach children about the distance between planets in our Solar System. It has to be able to be used in a festival setting. The other one was creating a write up on a spectroscopy demonstration.

2015 Internship Day 9: Stars and Programs

We got donuts this morning, it was pretty awesome.
I finished the codecademy Python course. FINALLY!! Now I get to move onto applying everything I learn to a real life application.

I got set up using DS9 to analyze pictures of stars taken at different wavelengths to see if they appear at that wavelength. I got five of them done, and will do more of it tomorrow too. I will also begin actually programming a list of stars tomorrow. I'm excited. Also Friday's tomorrow, which is pretty exciting. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2015 Internship Day 8: Almost done coding and DS9

I am almost done learning how to code. YAYYYY!!!!! Also, we began looking at some data Kristina gave us on young stars. We are looking at them through images collected in DS9 (Deep Space 9- but not Star Trek) and are seeing if there are any sources of interference. Unfortunately there wasn't much we could do today because an image server was down and they had a lot of the infared images we needed.

For lunch, Leander and I met up with the other interns and ate some pizza then learned about what the freshmen project at the CIS. Each year the incoming freshmen class are tasked with collectively building a new imaging system. It sounds really cool. I really liked learning about the device that allowed for the image to be viewed from many light sources and the camera that could focus on only one item. That camera could see through things which is so cool and could be really useful in the world, especially with law enforcement.

Also its really cold and I feel like it should be September but its only the middle of July. Why Rochester? Why?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2015 Internship Day 7: Still Coding, but now I'm 17

Today (July 14th) is my birthday!! Yay! After the internship I'm going out to dinner with my family which will be fun. But enough about that... today was my seventh day of the internship.

The weather was pretty gloomy today, and me and Leander got caught in it on our way back from lunch. Also, the pizza here is really good. I've had it twice now, and really enjoy it. As far as what work I've been doing, I'm still coding. It's really frustrating and difficult to understand, and a lot of the stuff we are doing is really difficult to understand. Despite that, I'm going to try to not let myself get frustrated, and get help when I need it. I can't wait to start learning about how to apply what I've learned.

Monday, July 13, 2015

2015 Internship Day 6: More Code

Today, July 13th 2015, marks the beginning of my second week of the internship. 

After the morning meeting, I felt really nauseous, and almost went home, but I gutted it out, and around noon it began to feel better. I coded most of the morning, then went out to lunch. I had a small personal pizza that was really good. After lunch I went back to coding. 

I want to say I've gotten much better at coding but it's still really difficult. But I did get through one section in around half an hour which was pretty impressive. I'm a little bit more than halfway done with the codecademy class on it. I'm pretty sure that I'll understand it much better in a few days.

Friday, July 10, 2015

2015 Internship Day 5: Coding, Volleyball and Summary!

The first week of my internship is complete! It doesn't feel like it's been that long, but at the same time it feels like it's been forever.

I spent most of today learning how to code on Python using an online coding website called codecademy. (or something along those lines) It's not the most exciting activity ever, but learning it is really important, and can benefit me later on, both during this internship, and after. The website is also really easy to navigate, and I'm slowly understanding how to use code. That being said, it still can be really frustrating, but that's how the learning curve can be.

The highlight of my day was when I went down the lawn of the Carlson building for the grill out style lunch. I had a hot dog, and afterwards played volleyball. At first it was interns vs interns, but them some of the research students challenged us to a game. I'm pretty sure we interns won, but I wasn't really keeping score. But playing volleyball was really fun, and I felt like it brought the interns together a bit more. I look forward to next Friday :D

In summary, this week as been very exciting and new for me. I'm meeting a lot of new people, and taking part in a lot of new experiences. I look forward to next week, and what that will bring.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015 Internship Day Four: More outreach and lunchtime presentations

Today at my internship we headed straight over to the astronomical imaging lab and began working on our outreach projects. I worked on writing up two of my ideas, and creating power points to go along with them. Around lunchtime we headed back to the Carlson building for a free lunch (Yummy) and a meeting with other astronomy students to hear about what kind of projects they are doing.

It was really interesting and fun learning about different kinds of projects they are working on. I didn't understand a lot of the math since they were presenting it to their peers, and not highschool students. That being said, it was still really cool to see all of the presentations and here about their work. After the talk, I chatted with another student about going to school at RIT and what Imaging Science is like. 

After lunch we headed back to the lab and began working on our outreach projects more. Towards the end I began working on learning Python, which is a kind of computer software that has its own sort of language. I'm using a website to teach myself it and will work more with it probably tomorrow and over the weekend. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2015 Internship Day Three: The Archimedes Palimpsest and more Outreach

Today (July 8th)  was my third day of the RIT internship at the College of Imaging Science.

 After the morning meeting we headed off to our lab and began working on our outreach projects, and doing a bit of reading as well. (I ended up finishing my reading today) Leander and I figured out what projects we wanted to do and began to do some write ups with instructions for them.

 However, around 11:45, we took a break for lunch and headed over to the Carlson building to listen to a lecture by Prof. Easton on his work with historical imaging and the Archimedes palimpsest, and other historical documents. It was really, really fascinating. I think that'd be a really cool job, traveling the world and figuring out what old overwritten documents say. I like learning about history, especially learning about how the scientists of the more ancient times. We also got a free pizza lunch which was cool too.

 After the lecture, we continued working on different outreach projects. We also learned a bit about possible science/research projects we might be doing but we probably won't get more into it until next week. Which is fine because I've been having fun coming up with different outreach projects. We got two typed up and I have around three that I can type up at a later time. 

2015 Internship Day Two: Team building and Outreach

So the second day of my internship was another fun, successful day.

 After the morning meeting, the twelve interns and I walked across campus to the red barn. There we participated in some team building exercises. The exercises began easy, like how fast can we throw a ball in a certain pattern, but got steadily harder. However they were still all fun and challenged our brains. I got to know my fellow interns better, and learned about how important communication is. 

After the team building, Leander and I went to our lab. There we continued on reading the textbook. We did that for a few hours, then two of the other researchers showed us some different demonstrations for festivals and classrooms. They showed us this because part of our assignment is doing an outreach project to teach kids in the community about astronomy. The first demo was showing the distance between each planet using paper and stickers. It was really cool seeing how everything was spread apart in the solar system. The second demonstration was about light, and how it diffracts depending on what elements are present. This was showed by turning on gas tubes filled with one element and then viewing the lit up tube with a pair of diffraction glasses so we could see the emission spectrum. I had done something similar in physics so it was a fun review. 

After that we headed back to the lab and brainstormed our own ideas for outreach projects. I've never done anything like this before, and found it challenging to come up with fun interactive ideas that can teach younger children about more challenging concepts in astronomy. I had to think about what kind of things that I would enjoy if I was a kid. We came up with a pretty good list, then headed back home. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

2015 Internship Day One: introductions and reading!

Yesterday, July 6th 2015, was my first day at the RIT Imaging Science Internship! As a quick introduction, my name is Alexa, and I am interning at RIT with the College of Imaging Science. I will be working with Astronomical Imaging.

The first day of the internship was a slightly mixed bag of emotions. I was very nervous and apprehensive about spending a huge portion of my summer at a college, but I was also extremely excited about the new experience, and confident that I will succeed at the tasks given to me during the internship.

So the first thing all the interns did after arriving was take a quick tour of the College of Imaging Science. I really enjoyed the tour since it was interesting, informative, and enjoyable. Secondly, the interns were left in a room with a task: create a PowerPoint that includes a video on who we are and what high school we go to, instructions on how to resize an image on ImageJ and how to turn the image black and white, how to have a skype phone call, and finally create a blog where we will update it with information about our internship. The tasks were pretty fun and collectively the interns all worked pretty well together.

After that we had a pizza lunch and separated into our lab groups. I went to another building for astronomical imaging. They gave me a book to borrow and I was asked to read a few sections from it in order to get a better idea of astronomy. Now at first it might sound boring, but honestly, I'm really enjoying the readings. They're easy to understand, and truly fascinating. I love learning about space, when I was younger I wanted to work at NASA... Ok I still do want to work there. Space is so cool.

After reading, I met my internship partner, Leander. He had just arrived from Ohio. After a bit of chatting about what we might do this summer, we said our good byes and that concludes day one! Overall, I'd say it was a pretty successful day, and left me a bit tired, but very excited for the future.