Part 5: Final Lab Report
Your final lab report should be written in your lab notebooks, and turned in on the day scheduled for the final exam:
5pm Thursday, December 12
Your final report, in effect, constitutes your final examination for this course, and should be entirely your own work. While you may assist each other during the previous 4 parts of this project, I want you to work through the questions and interpretive sections here on your own without collaboration with your fellow students. Read over this outline below in detail before you begin, and well in advance of the deadline. If you have questions, or need clarification, please consult with me in person or by email.
For your final write-up, try to organize all these various steps you have taken into a coherent narrative. Simply turning in your stack of notes will not be acceptable. You may type it up if you wish, or you may provide a hand-written report, in pen, if you write neatly. Please staple any supporting graphs to your report in the order they appear in the text, and given them clear (brief) figure captions with clean labels as appropriate. Neatness and overall organization and flow will count.
The outline I want you to use in organizing your results into your final report is as follows:
In both cases remember to plot the error bars.
On the question of what might be done better, consider your answer to how the rms variations in the comparison stars (C1-C2) compared to the individual measurement errors of the brighter variable star. Look at your POSS finder chart. Would using comparison stars of comparable brightness to the variable let you exploit the full precision of the individual measurements? Think about it in terms of what dominates the uncertainty in the differential magnitude of the variable star: V-0.5*(C1+C2).
Compute the field of view of a 512x512 pixel CCD camera with 24-micron pixels mounted at the focus of the 12-inch f/10 Meade telescope. If we were to have used this telescope and CCD combination for the experiment instead of the YALO 1-meter and the ANDICAM CCD, are there any better candidates for comparison stars of comparable brightness to CY Aquarii that land within the CCD field in this case? [Hint: ask yourself if you really need to center CY Aqr on the exact center of the CCD field-of-view?] Do you think that the problem might be done with greater precision with a 12-inch telescope in Columbus rather than this particular 1-meter telescope in Chile? Comment on this possibility to wrap things up.
Your report should not be super detailed, but should give me enough information to form a judgment as to how well you got through each step of the lab, how well you understood what you were doing and drew connections between the different parts, and finally how well you can organize the results from all the separate parts into a coherent whole.
One of the goals of this class is to give you the conceptual and technical skills to understand how to treat astronomical data statistically. What I will be looking for is how well you demonstrate how to weave a critical consideration of measurement errors into your discussion of the lab results, and to recognize and assess their impact upon the experiment (as well as your ability to do the uncertainty estimates correctly).
This is not all that different than how one would organize observations, data analysis and interpretations into a scientific paper.
Go back to Part 4: Differential Photometry of CY Aqr
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