Thesis Proposal Presentation by Darren Grau on February 2nd
Space Studies master’s student, Darren Grau, will give his thesis proposal presentation as follows. Please show your support by attending.
When: Thursday, February 2nd at 4:00 p.m.
Where: Ryan Hall, Room 111
Title: Stellar Spectral Classification of Previously Unclassified Stars
Stellar spectral classification is one of the first efforts undertaken to begin defining the physical characteristics of stars. However, many stars lack even this basic information, which is the foundation for later research to constrain stellar effective temperatures, masses, radial velocities, the number of stars in the system, and age. This research will obtain visible-λ stellar spectra via the testing and commissioning of a Santa Barbara Instruments Group (SBIG) Self-Guiding Spectrograph (SGS) at the UND Observatory. Utilizing a 16-inch-aperture telescope on Internet Observatory #3, the SGS will obtain spectra of GSC 3839:404 and GSC 3847:57 in the low-resolution mode using an 18-μm wide slit with dispersion of 4.3 Å/pixel, resolution of 8 Å, and a spectral range from 3800-7500 Å.
Observational protocols include automatic bias/dark frame subtraction and flat field correction for each stellar spectrum obtained. This will be followed by spectral averaging to obtain a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) > 100 for each star observed. Image calibration and spectral averaging will be performed using at least two different software packages, such as the Image Reduction and Analysis Facility (IRAF) or the native SBIG spectral data reduction software. The wavelength calibration process will separately obtain spectra of an Hg/Ne source that will be used to convert spectrograph channels into wavelengths.
Stellar emission and absorption lines, such as those for hydrogen (H) and helium (He), will be identified, extracted, and normalized. Normalized absorption and/or emission line areas will be calculated. Each average spectrum will be compared to the MK stellar spectral standard to determine an initial spectral classification for each star. Successful completion of this project will allow long-term stellar spectral observations to begin at the UND Observatory.