This is a full tour of an astronomy research project done through NITARP (NASA Infrared Teachers Archive Research Program), which pairs Caltech astronomers with STEM teachers for authentic research using data from various observatories.
The project presented here is a search for Young Stellar Objects (YSOs) in IC417 (the “Spider and Fly”) nebula. We’ll share how candidate objects were found, how object lists were generated and downloaded, how objects were identified and confidence values assigned. We’ll share how to make and interpret color-color plots, color-magnitude plots, spectral energy distribution plots and more.
Most importantly, we’ll share how the astrophysics of star formation reveals itself in spectral data. And how confounding factors, such as dust in the interstellar medium, also show up in the data and can be compensated for.
By attending this presentation, educators will be able to share a truer picture of the work of astronomers with their students.
The participants will step through an entire astronomical research project from inception through data gathering, data vetting and processing, results, and publication. This will deepen the participant’s understanding of research and equip them to bring astronomical research to their school.
Donna Kaiser (Stamford High School: Stamford, CT), Vincent Urbanowski (Academy of Information Technology & Engineering: Stamford, CT)