2015 BFY II Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: W26 - Stellar Photometry and Spectroscopy in the physics lab room
Abstract: The focus of our workshop will be in reusing standard modern physics equipment with the intent of showing its application to astrophysics. Most every physics department offers a modern physics lab, which includes experiments in such topics as quantum mechanics, and atomic and nuclear physics. The equipment for such classical experiments is quite standard. What is not standard across many physics departments, is the use of such equipment to conduct meaningful experiments in an astrophysics lab course. Such labs attract a large portion of STEM and non-STEM majors alike. Given this popularity, and the likelihood for such courses to be taught as an elective in a physics department or high school, it becomes essential to recycle equipment from mandatory courses such as a modern physics course.

Experiments that will be included in the workshop will be photometric measurements of celestial objects and, time permitting, stellar spectroscopy. Photometric experiments would begin with radiometry, including fundamental applications of radiometry with a Geiger counter and Gamma button source or light source and Photodiode. Special attention will be paid to astronomical procedures in data processing, as it applies to the equipment at hand, i.e. dark current, quantum efficiency, etc. This portion will finish with applications of photon statistics with regards to image processing and CCDs. We will make heavy use of Aperture Photometry Tool software, supported by NASA, JPL, etc.

Time permitting, we may begin discussing ideas in stellar spectrometry in the classroom setting, including some demonstrations. Depending on what equipment is accessible to attendees at their home institute, this discussion/demonstration will involve equipment and/or standard plotting software.

Lastly, sample lab manuals and lab reports will be used to illustrate the experiments in a classroom lab environment. Every effort will be made to incorporate standard physics lab equipment into preparing the experiments. Attendees may ask for guidance on how to best use their current equipment for such experiments.
Abstract Type: Workshop

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Shawn Langan
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
and Co-Presenter(s)
Zach Smith, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, zachary.smith -at- huskers.unl.edu

Workshop Documents

Workshop Doc 1: Download the Workshop Doc 1