On July 5th, I entered Small Hall and made an action plan with my research adviser, Professor Deconinck, in regards to the troubling news that the observatory dome is not quite yet operational, and likely will not be ready to use until after my investigations with asteroid lightcurves has concluded. We have a contingency in the Meade LX90 telescope that Prof. Deconinck brought in, although its 8 inch aperture limits the size of the asteroids that I can view. Therefore, instead of viewing asteroids which have few to no lightcurves previously made of their rotations I will add to the data collected on larger minor planets, such as Ceres. This is useful information to the international scientific community since it helps to identify and quantify the error involved with using the Minor Planet Observatory Canopus software.
Light Curve Analysis of Minor Planets within the Asteroid Belt
Between June 10 and July 22, I will apply Fourier Analysis and other statistical analyses to stacked photographs of low-mass minor planets within the asteroid belt to generate light curves with the Minor Planet Observatory Canopus program, and post my results to the Minor Planet Observatory database under the guidance of Professor Wouter Deconinck. In this process, I will determine the rotation rate of these asteroids, as well as their distance from Earth, and relative size. Using the Canopus software, I will further interpret the general shape and composition of the bodies, and will use the Minor Planet Observatory Light Curve Inverter to formulate a rendition of the asteroids appearance.
As initially stated in my project goals, I made a poster to represent key facts about African and Australian Archaeoastronomy to a person with no knowledge of the subject. I have provided a link to my final poster, which I will be presenting at the Charles Center Summer Research Symposium on Thursday, October 3, 2013. Thank you very much for reading about my project!
There is an overall lack of information on cultural astronomy and archaeoastronomy in Sub-Saharan Africa. This having been said, it was rather difficult for me to gain access to scholarly works on the subject, resulting in my eventual purchase of African Cultural Astronomy, a collection of articles pertinent to “current archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy research in Africa.” Within this book, many articles were not relevant to my project as they either dealt with Northern Africa or initiatives to increase astronomy research and education in Africa.