BRC Bigger Picture and Goals

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The big goal

We have Spitzer data for two tiny patches of sky likely to harbor young stars. One of the signatures of young stars is that they have "more infrared than you'd expect" (e.g., they are redder than you expect) because of their circumstellar disk. We will use this property, as seen in the Spitzer data, to identify new CANDIDATE young stars. The word "candidate" is important, because there is likely to be contamination in our sample from things that have colors that make them look like young stars, but they are actually not young stars. Most likely, the contaminants will be active galactic nuclei (AGN) in the distant background. The word "new" is also important -- there have been previous searches for young stars in these regions, so we need to make sure that we understand what has been done before so that we can compare what we did to what other people did, and make sure that we are not, say, announcing "OMG 30 new young stars!!!1!" when in reality 25 of them were found before by someone else, and we are rediscovering them -- rediscovering them independently, mind you, but rediscovering them nonetheless.

BRC 27 and BRC 34 are our two regions. The two regions appear to have different properties according to the literature, and thus we have the potential for a "compare and contrast" kind of discussion even within our own results. Ideally, we will also extend this discussion to the rest of the literature.

The concrete goal

We have to come up with a science poster (and an education) for the Austin AAS in Jan 2012. BUT because the posters can be simple or complex, this goal is a little squishy, perhaps squishier than you might be comfortable with. What I describe here (and elsewhere on the wiki) is the kind of goal I would give a grad student. But getting through even a part of it (rather than all of it) is still a success!! This may be hard to really internalize, but it's true.

The overall "story arc"

OK, so I've done this a few times before. :*) There are two potentially useful pages on the wiki with the "overall story arc" or "to-do list" describing the major tasks we have to accomplish towards actually reducing our data and analyzing it. The Working with L1688 page (from 2008) tries to explain the 'story arc' by using a cluster similar to the ones we were studying to demonstrate the tasks. The more recent Working with CG4+SA101 page (from 2010) goes through the actual region that that group studied. I found that being concrete was better than being abstract, so now there is a Working with the BRCs page that has been fully updated.

The important part is that there are lots of exit ramps off this particular highway. If you get through only a few of those tasks, but you really understand them, that's fine! If we get through them all, that's fantastic. I expect we as a group will get most of the way through them before we have to write the poster.

The timeline

At the end of February, I sent out to the whole NITARP group a global timeline for an entire NITARP project. Look for mail from me from about then, or look here (link to the CoolCosmos site). IMPORTANT NOTES: (1) This is a schedule in the ideal case. Your mileage may vary. (2) This includes everything for the entire cycle, including applications, so that I can give it to other people and have the entire thing make sense. (We're fundraising and recruiting here too.) (3) This includes some deadlines that we've already blown (e.g., it has place holders for some notional work that would have happened in the Fall before the AAS), and some future notional things that we hope will happen but that may not happen, depending on available resources. These uncertain things are indicated by wording such as "possible check-in" or "possible survey", etc..

The important dates are:

  • Apr-June - background work
  • June-Aug - summer visits, learn and start analysis
  • Sep-Oct - continue analysis
  • Oct? - AAS abstracts due
  • Oct-Nov - finish analysis
  • Dec - write posters
  • Jan - present them!