Variability of the Mid-IR Sky Current Research Activities

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Winter AAS Visit 2011

VarStars with Education Poster AAS 1/11/11
VarStars with Education and Science Poster to be presented 1/12/11

Luisa's AAS Scavenger Hunt

Dr. Rebull put together a list of people, places, things that we should check out at the AAS. Click on your name and document your time with words and pictures!

Rebecca AAS

Joey AAS

Justin AAS

Mrs Piper AAS

more pics here!!!

Niles Group

Great Falls Group

Alex AAS

Aneesh AAS

Olivia AAS

Mr DeCoster AAS

Mrs Thomas AAS

Click here for Science Poster Abstract

Science VarStar Poster Paint.JPG

Click here forEducation Poster Abstract


Poster working docs

Variability of the Mid-IR Sky Proposal

Here is the link to our Spring 2010 proposal


Variability of the Mid-IR Sky Summer visit

We will be arriving on Thursday Aug 5, departing Aug 9 in hopes of working the three full days of Aug 6, 7 and 8. CLICK HERE for details

Caltech Summer Visit Discussion

Star field names, # of stars, # of images and teams are listed here.

File:Spitzer JPL visit.jpeg
JPL Visit August 2010

Luisa's thought provoking Journal Prompts

Click here for VarStar Responses to Louisa!

Generating Light Curves - APT and Excel

You can find info to help you practice using APT to generate light curves on this page.

Test stars comp.jpg

Standard Deviation for Dummies

Our Astronomers said it would be important for us to understand standard deviation. We found the button on Excel that calculates it for us, but doesn't really explain what it is. Here's an explanation and example.

Standard deviation is a statistical measure of spread or variability. The standard deviation is tells you how closely the data are clustered around the average. We want to use the aperture and background subtraction settings that give us the smallest standard deviation for a star that is not varying. Our varying stars will of course have large standard deviations because they ARE varying.

Formula: Stddev.jpg

Standard Deviation standard deviation formula

where Σ = Sum of X = Individual score M = Mean (average) of all scores N = Sample size (Number of scores)

Example: Find the Standard deviation of 3,2,1,1,and 3

Step 1: Calculate the mean (average) and deviation.

X M (X-M) (X-M)2
3 2 1 1
2 2 0 0
1 2 (-1) 1
1 2 (-1) 1
3 2 1 1

Step 2:Find the sum of (X-M)2 1+0+1+1+1 = 4

Step 3:N = 5, the total number of values.Find N-1. 5-1 = 4

Step 4:Now find Standard Deviation using the formula. √4/√4 = 1

Individual School Pages

Communicating on Wiki!!!

Wiki will tell you when anyone makes an edit or comment to any page if you

-log in, click on my preferences, put your whole name in for your signature if you want, check off all of the boxes at the bottom to turn on the email function
-go to the pages you want to "watch" and click on on the Watch tab, you'll get an email if there is a change to these pages
-watch your practice page and everyone elses practice pages for now so you know any of us make a comment or put up something new
-Please make comments using the discussion tab on anything and everything right now!
-if you feel the urge to make the comment on the actual page, that's ok for any pages under Variability of the Mid IR Sky seeing that these are our pages, but if you comment on the main coolwiki, use the discussion page.

Here's some examples of how to edit a wiki page

Lincoln-Way North High School in Frankfort, Illinois

Teacher - Peggy Piper - Students - Joey R. - Rebecca R. - Justin C.

Here are our light curves with standard deviations for the three test stars using Source Model B.
From top to bottom in each graph, they are stars #1, #2, and #3.

Mrs. P Question to you - which aperture background should we choose? Why?

Joey's Data for Aperture 3, Background 10 20

Joey aperture 3 background 10-20

Rebecca's Data for Aperture 5, Background 5 10

Rebecca aperture 5 background 5-10

Joey's Data for Aperture 10, Background 12 20

Joey aperture 10 background 12-20

CLICK HERE for our working data

LWN Student Practice Pages

Mars pics for Mr. DeCoster

I moved these to their own page to take up less space --Peggy Piper 10:10, 29 July 2010 (PDT)

Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois

Teacher - Rich DeCoster
Student - Alex
Student - Aneesh


Determining Fields - Rich images and links

Here's Rich's work from when we first were determining which fields to use. I think it probably ties in well with Alex's very nice tutorial:)--Peggy Piper 10:06, 29 July 2010 (PDT)

Identifying Objects in ds9: a Pictorial Tutorial by Alex Antonow

Here are two light curves by Alex

Var Star with Avg.jpg


Niles West Student Observing Pages

Niles West Student Practice Pages

North Middle School, Great Falls, Montana

click on title above to get page to edit

Teacher - Beth Thomas Student - Drew B. Student - Olivia R.


Summer Discussion Topics

How Does Spitzer Work

So let's start looking into the details of how Spitzer works! I put a few subheadings below, we can add more as we go. Lets start with the mission. How 'bouts each of you come up with some facts about the history, the purpose, the reason Spizter was launched. There's plenty of info and links on this coolwiki.


  1. come up with and list 5 facts (not here, on History/Mission page!)
  2. you can't repeat someone else's fact (if you do this soon, its easier - poor Joey's out of town til Sat!)
  3. once facts are up, come up with several questions about someone else's facts and post them below the fact (make sure you hit the signature button so we know who's talking)

This time we'll talk right on the topic page instead of the discussion page.Click on History/Mission to see how I started. Ha - I took the easy ones!


Physical Aspects

IR Channels

Variable Stars

Studying Variable Stars

Here's the link to some variable star lessons Beth put together - very nice!

Acronyms and Vocab and Our Proposal, Oh my!!

ya know...Lion's and Tiger's and Bear's, Oh my!!

Our Glorious Leaders

Most Definitely a couple of Cool Dudes


Here is link to ‘‘DARK MATTER’’ IN ACCRETION DISKS by Steve Howell and Don Hoard that is of interest

Other items

This is Rich. I hope I am not causing confusion. It is 11:15 am CST on Friday Jan. 22, 2010. I am trying to see what this does, since I have "editing" status here. Is this something we use instead of email, or is it a place to create documents that we edit together? Rich ps-Should something like this be in the "discussion" tab rather than the "article" tab?

Hi Rich - no, you're not causing confusion, you're doing it exactly right! These pages under "current research activities" are really sort of "shared white boards". The other half of the wiki (under "research tools") are more articles, and in those cases, yes, questions should go into the discussion pages. I copied some headers in here, but please see some of the "current research activity" pages for the other current teams to see how they are using their pages. (e.g., cg4's page) Oh, and you can use this for whatever you want -- proposal preparation, conversation, sharing plots, brainstorming, etc. --Rebull 13:12, 22 January 2010 (PST)

AAS 2012 Austin, TX play space