Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today, I found my sixth CME (August 15, 2010) so that I could get my first three “n” values.  Fortunately, all the values are very close to each other!  After finishing off the calculations for the August 15 CME, I was asked, by Dr. Dube, to create a spreadsheet that organized all the data neatly.  The spreadsheet took me a while just because I had to calculate the time the CME took to travel in days, hours, and seconds, and halfway through the process I realized that I had done the conversions completely wrong.  Dr. Dube also told me about eureqa, a program that can make a generalized formula for a set of data.  I downloaded it on my computer, but I still need to play around with it to understand how it works.  I am glad that I have at least calculated three “n” values, but it just seems like there is always so much work to be done.  I guess I have to just keep pressing forward and get as much done as possible!    

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I again had a pretty good day!  I was able to finish up the calculations from the June 2, 2011 CME that I found yesterday and then I located two CMEs that happened two days later on June 4.  The two CMEs that I found from June 4 were both labeled "Halos" (meaning that they hit the Earth), however they both were shooting in the wrong direction according to the STEREO-A and the STEREO-B satellites.  Dr. Dube asked me to do the calculations for these CMEs anyway because the GOES instrument presented data that confirmed that these two CMEs did hit Earth.  Maybe there was a reversal of the axes in the STEREO-A and B data.  When I finished the calculations for CMEs, I found another "n" value.  Now I have two different "n" values, so I really only need one more!  Of course it can't hurt to have more, so my guess is that I will end up with more than just three "n"' values.  Having more will only increase the accuracy of  my research.  As usual, I am just going to keep trying to find as many CMEs as I possibly can, and I would like to start some slides for my final presentation tomorrow as well.

Monday, July 29, 2013

This morning I quickly started looking for CMEs and I found a great one that occurred on June 14, 2012!  I finished all the calculations for that CME and compared it to the CME that I found last week to get my first "n" value.  Dr. Dube told me that I had to find "n" two more times using different CMEs, so I spent the rest of the day searching and I actually just found one that occurred on June 2, 2011!  I am going to see how many measurements I can make today, but I will probably do a majority of them tomorrow.  I would also like to start making some background slides for my final presentation so that I can feel a little ahead of schedule! Overall, I think that today went really well! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

I finally found a CME!  The first date that I looked at after the morning meeting had a massive CME and I found data for it on STEREO-A, STEREO-B, SOHO, and GOES! I was able to calculate the speed of the CME, find when it actually hit Earth, use the equation d=VCME*t+(1/2a)t2 to get the acceleration, and then plug all the numbers into the overall equation a=A(VCME-Vwind)n. Due to the fact that there are two variables in this equation I need to find another CME so that I can divide out the constant (A) to get a value for the exponent (n). So, tomorrow I am going to continue the search for yet another CME so that I can get a value for “n”. I also just remembered that I need to plot Height vs. Time graphs for the CME that I found today. It feels really good to finally have a productive day and I hope the success continues into next week!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

During the morning meeting, I read my title and abstract out loud to all of the interns along with Bethany and Bob.  Overall, they thought it was pretty good.  They recommended that I shorten it and abbreviate CME instead of write out coronal mass ejection ten different times within only a few sentences! I have to agree I went a little overboard! The rest of the day I spent searching for a CME, but to no avail.  Dr. Dube pitched in to help me find a CME, and he gave me some dates to look at, but the dates he provided were before the STEREO-A and the STEREO-B launched so it would make any calculations less accurate.  I really hope that tomorrow is a better day because I want to be able to do some of the cool calculations, but I can't until I find a CME with data from all of the instruments!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today, I helped Maggie do another trial for her senior project, and I am going back on Monday to do another trial.  After that, I went and talked to Dr. Dube about the issues that had come up yesterday and we both decided that it was best if I just started again on another CME.  I spent the entire day looking for a CME that was present in at least the SOHO, STEREO-A or B, and the GOES instruments.  I had absolutely no luck, unfortunately.  I really can't go any farther in the work that Dr. Dube just gave me until I find one, so it is really crucial that I find a CME as soon as possible.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a more successful day! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

This morning I went with a few interns to the graduate student symposium.  We listened to a few different talks on topics like fuel cells, Colt guns, and dusty galaxies.  There was also a keynote speaker who talked about the increasing female role at RIT and other colleges and universities.  I finished up my title and abstract today, and Dr. Dube really liked what I wrote!  I can’t believe that it is already week three and we are at our first milestone already!  This afternoon I looked at the August 31, 2012 coronal mass ejection to find the actual time that it took for that coronal mass ejection to reach Earth.  I am a little concerned because the actual time that I got was a lot longer than I expected, so I am probably going to go back and look for mistakes tomorrow.  The data I am looking at now is from the GOES instrument and it provides X-ray, proton, and electron flux graphs that show when the coronal mass ejection actually hit Earth.  I can’t find the proper data for the May 11, 2011 and the September 2, 2012 coronal mass ejections, though, so I may have to go back to the beginning and find another coronal mass ejection to use. 

Tomorrow, I am going back to the Color Science Hall to do a second trial for Maggie Castle’s senior project and it is also movie day!  Hopefully I can also resolve some of the problems that arose today! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

I got the chance to talk to Dr. Dube today about the second half of the research that I am going to conduct this summer! I have already calculated the speeds of enough coronal mass ejections, and have also found the ideal times that they take to reach Earth.  Now, I have to find how long these different coronal mass ejections actually took to reach Earth.  After comparing the ideal time with the actual time, I can then observe the drag effect that is caused by the solar wind.  My goal this summer is to find out the “exponent of the power law” in the equation; a= A (VCME-Vwind)n   The variables of the equation stand for:

a= acceleration
A= constant
VCME= speed of the coronal mass ejection (km/s)
Vwind= speed of the solar wind (km/s)
n= exponent of the power law

By using various data points I will hopefully be able to calculate the “n” variable and fulfill my task for the summer!

I also went to the Color Science Hall to help Maggie Castle complete her senior project! I had to rate 37 different color samples based on how saturated I thought they were.  It was a little confusing at first but I actually thought it was pretty fun, and I am glad I was able to help her out!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I finished up the May 5, 2011 CME and my calculated speed was really close to the recorded speed!  I know that I have to look next at how solar wind affects these CMEs, but I want to wait and talk to Dr. Dube about this next step in my research, and he was not here today. I ended up just reading a journal article on the danger of space weather, and another one on a major geomagnetic storm that occurred in September of 1859.  I actually enjoyed reading because I understood a lot of the content, but also was able to learn a lot of new things about the sun! I am not going to be here tomorrow, but hopefully on Monday I can talk to Dr. Dube and start working on the next part of my research!  Also, the first milestone is next Wednesday, and I need to have a title and an abstract prepared. I am definitely going to start that on Monday, but I am pretty comfortable with my topic so it should go smoothly!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Great news! I finished up my calculations for the August 31, 2012 coronal mass ejection and the speed that I found was very close to the recorded speed! That meant that I could start looking for another CME and I was thrilled that it didn't take me that long to find even another coronal mass ejection that had data from the SOHO, STEREO-A, and STEREO-B satellites. I completed all three Height vs. Time graphs for this CME, which occurred on May 5, 2011. Tomorrow, I am going to calculate the final speed for this CME and then study the three CMEs that I have completed so far and try to look for any patterns in the way solar wind affects these CMEs.  

Since today was Wednesday, the interns had another fun weekly pizza and movie lunch. Our movie was about the art of presentations. There were many useful ideas that I will have to remember to use when I have to give my final presentation on August 23! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It has been a pretty good day!  Since I finished all the calculations for the September 2 and 3 CMEs, I spent today looking for another one.  All morning I searched, but every time I found data from the SOHO satellite, I couldn't find any from the STEREO-A or B satellite.  This was pretty frustrating.  Finally, at around three in the afternoon, I found a really awesome CME that occurred on August 31, 2012.  I was able to find data for it from all three satellites as well!!  I took the measurements, converted them from pixels to kilometers, and then I even had time to make three Height vs. Time graphs!  Tomorrow, I am going to calculate the speed of this CME, and how long it took to reach Earth!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Today, I found the overall speed of the September 2, 2012 coronal mass ejection! It was a little far off from the recorded speed on the SOHO website, but Dr. Dube said that was to be expected.  Hopefully I wasn't too far off!  I still have to calculate the time that it took for that CME to reach Earth though, but that should be easy!  I also found another CME today that I will begin to calculate, and it happened only a day later, on September 3, 2012.  There seems to be a lot of CMEs during September, so I wonder if that was because it was during the solar maximum?  Since there is only data from the STEREO-A satellite and the SOHO satellite for the September 3 CME, I only had to make two Height vs. Time graphs which took up most of my morning/afternoon.  Tomorrow I am probably going to just finish up the calculations for the September 3 CME and try to look for a third CME to continue researching.  The process is the same for each CME, so I should become more efficient with my calculations as the summer goes on, and hopefully I can get enough data to begin looking for patterns. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Today, I continued to work on the September 2, 2012 CME. I finished up the final Height vs. Time graph from the STEREO-A after talking to Dr. Dube about the issue I mentioned yesterday. Just as I was finally done with all of the graphs, I realized that I had measured the CMEs from the SOHO satellite starting at the center of the sun, but had done the STEREO-A and STEREO-B measurements starting at the edge of the sun. I had to redo all the measurements and then convert those new measurements from pixels to kilometers! I am now starting to collect all of the data to get the final speed of the CME so that I can predict when it will reach Earth, but I have to ask Dr. Dube on Monday how to standardize all the measurements that I will be getting as I am taking them from various images and instruments. I am anxious to finish at least one CME but feel good, as I am definitely making progress. I also located two more CMEs that took place later that same day, so those will be the next CMEs that I will research.

On another note, all the interns had a BBQ today! I had a delicious hamburger and an amazing fruit salad! I also really enjoyed playing volleyball with the other interns. Tonight, I leave for Niagara Falls with my family for the weekend. I can't wait to see them!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I made a ton of progress today on a CME that took place on September 2, 2012. I was finally able to find data from all three instruments, so I was really excited about that! I had to measure each ejection frame by frame, convert pixels to kilometers, and then place the numbers into a Height vs. Time graph that I made on Excel. I went through this process three times using the images from the three different satellites (SOHO, STEREO-A, and STEREO-B). Crunching all the numbers took longer than I thought, but I was relieved to find one coronal mass ejection that I have sufficient data for. Tomorrow, I will finish the final graph. However, I am not sure how as some of the coronal mass ejection from the STEREO-A satellite was cut out of the picture. I will ask Dr. Dube. I will also get some measurements to find the speed of this coronal mass ejection, and hopefully with that I can then predict how long it took that coronal mass ejection to reach Earth. I had a really great day and I can't wait for our BBQ tomorrow. There will be a volleyball net and water balloons, so it should be loads of fun!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

After the morning meeting I stayed in the reading room to work on calculating the speeds of coronal mass ejections (CME).  Yesterday I unfortunately was researching a CME that had insufficient data and so today I had to pick a new CME to begin measuring.  I am really enjoying my work because all the pictures of the sun are amazing and the movies of the CMEs being ejected are really interesting.  Part of my job is to find a CME that is headed towards Earth on one instrument, and then to find the same CME, in picture form, taken from another instrument.  The three instruments that I am using are called SOHO (Solar and Helioshperic Observatory) and STEREO- A and STEREO- B.  A and B stand for Ahead and Behind the Earth's orbit.  I was able to get a speed of the CME but I only found it in pixels per second and I need to convert it to kilometers per second.  The way I am going to do that is by comparing how many pixels equals the diameter of the sun, which I can find online in kilometers.  I went up to the Multi-Camera Array lab, where Elizabeth, Killian, and Nate work, because the reading room was a little noisy and I just wanted a quieter place to work with people around to help me if needed.  An undergraduate student helped me download software that counts pixels in an image so that I wouldn't have to count them myself.  It was also movie-Wednesday and all the interns went down to the movie room in the CIS building to watch some TED talks.  They were really interesting and we also got free pizza, popcorn, and drinks! Overall it was a really great day!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I finally started my summer internship at RIT yesterday!  After traveling about 6 hours from Connecticut to Rochester I was excited to meet the other interns and my advisor, Dr. Roger Dube.  I just couldn’t wait to experience what it is like to work in a real laboratory and research the topic that I have been studying for the last two years in my Authentic Science Research (ASR) program at school - solar storms.

It was fun to start our day by participating in a scavenger hunt that sent us to various landmark locations around the RIT campus.  Not only were we able to familiarize ourselves with the campus ,but we also learned more about each other and started becoming friends.  After the scavenger hunt we had a group discussion about the handbook that covered topics like attendance, attire, ground rules, and lunch breaks.  Afterwards, I was able to meet my advisor, Dr. Roger Dube.  He gave me some readings to complete over the summer and a laptop to do all my work on, and he even started teaching me about what I will be doing this summer which was really great!  Basically, I will be calculating the speeds of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and then I will examine how solar wind affects those speeds to measure how long it takes for the CME to reach Earth.  It was a really awesome first day and it made me really excited to see what the rest of the summer has in store!

Today I attended our second group meeting at 8:45 this morning.  Some of the interns shared the work that they had already started and we also talked about how to get access cards for our specific labs.  The rest of the day I just spent researching coronal mass ejections that hit the Earth and, using measurements from SOHO, STEREO A, and STEREO B, I calculated the speeds of the coronal mass ejections. The coronal mass ejection that I studied today occurred on June 23, 2012.