For purchase of a 1.2-Gigabyte SCSI hard disk and interfacecontroller card(s) for the AAVSO computer system, in order to expand the data management and data storage and merge the 2 million variable star observations from 1911 to 1961 with the existing computer-readable database of 4.5 million observations from 1961 to date. The AAVSO will then be able to provide the astronomical community with the largest and the longest-in-duration database of variable stars in the world.
Grant Recipients in 1992
Grant Recipients $14,898
For the purchase of optical ray-tracing software for general use in support of the Lowell Observatory’s instrumental development and maintenance program. Ray-tracing software will provide fast, accurate solutions to problems they now address with approximate hand calculations. This software enables the user to experiment with ideas that would be too time consuming to investigate with a hand calculator and approximate formulae.
For the purchase of a pair of stepper motors for use in the Wisconsin Echelle Spectrograph which is soon to be shipped to Arizona for use on the Hiltner 2.4-meter telescope of the Michigan-Dartmouth-MIT Observatory. The equipment will modernize the existing hand-operated cranks for positioning the echelle and cross disperser gratings and will allow these gratings to be moved without having to physically handle the spectrograph as required under the present configuration.
For the purchase of an 80486-based computer to replace their more than ten-year-old IBM PC XT. Research consists first of developing a near-infrared classification system for O-M stars of all luminosity classes (Torres-Dodgen and Weaver, 1992, publication submitted to the Astronomical Journal). They hope this system will contribute to improve the determination of the luminosity function, as more spectral types will be available for faint cool stars and for heavily reddened OB stars. Also, the ratio of blue to red supergiants will be better known.
For the purchase of narrow-band interference filters to be used in conducting a CCD imaging survey of the sky at 656 nm wavelength, the Ha emission line of hydrogen. An Ha survey will provide detailed information on the structure of the diffuse, warm, ionized component of the interstellar medium, information necessary for understanding the dynamics of the interstellar gas. In addition, more accurate measurement of the emission at optical wavelengths will allow better modeling of the Galactic emission at measurements made by the COBE satellite to obtain the true cosmic background.
For the purchase of memory for a computer used to reduce data from a CO survey of the outer Galaxy. This is the most sensitive, highest spatial resolution, best coverage survey to date, and thus will include the smallest, coolest clouds ever studied in this context. Populations of clouds in arm and interarm regions will be identified and analyzed, as will the associated star formation activity.
For a set of filters and a dome flat projection system for use with the 32-inch telescope of the Three College Observatory (TCO) located near Burlington, North Carolina. In a collaborative effort involving the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Pembroke State University, the equipment is to be used in photometric studies of variable stars in globular and open clusters. CCD images will be obtained and reduced to determine light curves and colors.
For purchase of a laser printer for their Sun workstation dedicated to reduction and analysis of images of galaxies. The printer will be used to produce publication quality graphs, plots and gray-scale pictures of the studied galaxies. The laser printer is an essential tool in the process of sharing astronomical observations with the public and the scientific community. The workstation and laser printer support the research of several graduate and undergraduate astronomy students as well as two faculty members. The images are obtained at wavelengths throughout the visual, infrared, and x-ray regions and are reduced using the Image Reduction and Analysis Facility (IRAF) and SAOimage.