Friday, March 18, 2016

FWS Student Highlights: Matthew Gayhart

The project that I am working on currently is a project with Doctor Arthur Poland in the Physics Department. We are looking at spectral images of the Sun and analyzing them to look for trends between the intensity of light and the wavelengths of the energy of different elements in the Sun. We are specifically interested in the center of the Sun in more quiet regions, or regions that are not parts of solar flares and similar phenomenon. On a weekly basis we typically meet two times to discus what we have seen in the data and work on the coding for the programs that we have to create and run in order to process the data we collect from the satellite. These times are very helpful in being able to better my understanding of the math and physics behind what we are looking at and it is good to have someone to work with when coding, so as to help check each other’s code for mistakes. Aside from the meetings during the week, I look for data from the satellite that I feel would be good candidates for further processing and study. Once I have found the data that I would like to use I then begin to process it in order to be able to see the different wavelengths of light that are all in the raw data. Once complete with that I begin to look at correlations between intensity, wavelength, and velocity, trying to find patterns or oddities. This week I discovered several solar loops in some of the data that I was looking at, these loops are especially good for processing because they offer a great deal of information that can be used to run correlations and show different phenomenon in the velocities. I see this work being related to my long-term goals because I would love to one day work for NASA and Doctor Poland himself worked for NASA, so I am able to learn about what I should be doing to achieve my goals and getting a taste of what jobs may be out there when I am ready to go to work at NASA.