This day started out easily like many others. I read a couple journal articles this morning looking for more information to store in my head about asteroids and how to find water of hydration on them. Very interesting articles really, until one of them talked about some neural intelligence computer stuff. I skimmed that section of the article. So far, Dr. Leake have identified three major points we need to consider to begin our research this summer:
figure out which type of asteroids to look at considering taxonomical class, relative brightness, and location in the sky
learn an image reduction program called IRAF
and understand how to operate our telescopes and the equipment we'll be attaching to them.
We're well on our way with those goals. The reading I've been doing has helped us decide which asteroids will be our targets and I'll soon begin to learn [the dreaded] IRAF.
The head of the department took Erika, Dr. Leake, Dr. Rumstay and I out to lunch today. I had a southwestern chicken wrap. It was very tasty. A new flavor but not so unusual that it was difficult to eat. Without the department head, we all then went out to the grocery store to stock up on the essentials. Now I can eat. Unfortunately, the water in Valdosta tastes like a cross between chlorine and iron. A nasty combination that is only amplified when I peer into my water bottle only to discover little ghosties gliding through the liquid. I decided to buy my first jug of water at the super market. A gallon of the cheap, store-brand stuff cost $.68 or something like that. I guess I just feel like I live in a world not unlike that of the movie Spaceballs wherein President Screwb was often seen sniffing from a can of Perrier-Air.
Tonight Dr. Leake came over to campus to take me atop Neven's Hall. Our goal on this somewhat hazy evening was to help me become more acclimated to the scopes. She showed me most of the equipment in the big dome but we went without using the 16" tonight. So we went out on the deck outside and used a 10" to look at such targets as Mars, Venus, Mizar, the Ring Nebula, Spica, Arcturas, and M3. Very lovely they were. Venus showed us a lovely half-phase and in the middle of the evening we were treated to a fast-moving dot we later identified as the international space station.