Friday, May 28, 2010

One week down...

...only nine to go before the summer's up! I've been neglecting my posting duties recently, but here's a summary of the past three days:

I TeX'd up a good bit about the simulations, and I think I've got a pretty good grasp on them, aside from the smoothing/softening of gravity.

I've gone over some of the basic LSST information and will start TeXing up a document on that.

I determined that the simulation I was looking at was centered at (0,0,0) but the angular momentum of the disk was not aligned with one of the x, y, or z-axes. I also determined component 1 is the disk, 2 is the halo and 3 is the bulge. The other three I'm not sure about yet.

My next steps are to go over the paper on HB stars again and to start thinking about coordinate transformations so that we can "observe" the sims from the perspective of a planet orbiting a star within the galaxy. First I'll have to rotate the simulation so that the disk is aligned with the x-y plane and the z-axis is the height above (or below) the disk. Yay math!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day two

Today was primarily a reading day. I started off going over the papers initially assigned to get a better grasp of the simulations, specifically Governato, Mayer & Brook, 2008 and Zolotov et al, 2009. I also kept moving through Governato et al, 2007 to learn more about the specific feedback algorithms used. I also got through a few more chapters of the LSST Science Book, and (barely) started TeXing up a little piece on what I know about the surveys. Now I have a few more things to do:

1) Keep playing around with Tipsy

2) read the paper Horizontal Branch Stars: Observations, Theory and Insights into the Formation of the Galaxy to learn about blue Horizontal Branch stars. I'm hoping to find out their relative abundance and whether that is a function of age or metallicity (and if so, how). This will give a standard to compare the simulation data to.

3) Start analyzing a simulation in IDL (h277) and answer some basic questions to get familiarized with the data; i) what COMP number corresponds to which component, ii) are the stars centered on (0,0,0) and iii) is the angular momentum aligned with the x, y or z axes.

Then the real fun begins.

This should keep me occupied while Beth's out of town (at least).

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Summertime...

and here I am, back at Haverford. Most of my free time looks to be devoted to studying for the GREs and fencing, but the lion's share of my attention, time and enthusiasm will be taken up by my research.

The best place to start talking about this is the end; what my goals are. For this summer I'll be working with N-body + SPH simulations of Milky Way like galaxies to make predictions for the LSST. The objectives stated are:

1) Develop a method to look at and analyze the simulations from a perspective within the galaxy (like someone on the Earth observing the Milky Way);

2) Do the same, except change the perspective to that of someone within a nearby galaxy (like someone from the Earth observing Andromeda)

Of course, on a shorter timescale (~2 weeks) I've got some intermediate steps:
1) Develop an understanding and intuition of the simulations and write up a summary of this;
2) Learn about the LSST (it's methods, specs, what makes it unique, what it will/won't do, it's likes and dislikes...) and write up a summary of that;
3) Gain some experience and develop techniques for analyzing the simulations in IDL.

So far, I'm reading about the simulations to get a good preliminary understanding of them, reading select bits of the big book of LSST science (the LSST Science Book) and playing around with tipsy, learning how to view the simulations and different aspects thereof.  It's gonna be a busy summer!