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Astrophysics Scientific Research

  1. Mar 16, 2005 #1

    I'm interested in learning just how scientific research is done—specifically for Astrophysics. I would like to start some preliminary research for the Siemens-Westinghouse competition in October, but I'm wondering if research can be done in Astrophysics without a multi-billion dollar telescope. :approve: Although, to be honest, it seems that projects done for the Westinghouse competition are quite ground-breaking and require specific instruments, so something such as this might not work very well. (Besides theory, I suppose, but I'm not sure that's covered by the Westinghouse competition)

    Does anybody have some links for beginning research or some tips? I have so much time that I waste away on this infernal machine that I'd like to put forth into something productive.

    Thanks to anybody that helps :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2005 #2


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    You have access to a lot of publicly-published data from projects funded by various governments and agencies. Certainly, few of us can command observation time on Hubble, or any large ground-based telescopes, but there is lots of data from survey-type observations and narrower-but-deeper observations that are in the public domain. If you're clever about formulating your research program, you might be able to accomplish a LOT with someone else's observation allocation.
  4. Mar 16, 2005 #3


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    I'm sure there's plenty of work to be done on the SDSS data.
  5. Mar 16, 2005 #4


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    It is quite possible. At the risk of sounding immodest, I entered an astrophysics paper in that competition and was selected as a finalist in 19... er, as a HS senior armed only with a six inch newtonian and a library card. Of course by todays standards, my project was quite naive. But now that we are in the information age, even the rankest amateur has access to much of the same data used by world class researchers. Here is a good place to data mine:
  6. Mar 16, 2005 #5
    most teloscopes have public data archives which anyone can get data from eg. chandra, xmm-newton, 2dFGRS, SDSS etc.
  7. Mar 23, 2005 #6


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    A belated welcome to Physics Forums requiem!

    IIRC, there was some quite nice work done recently - on the axes of rotation of bright asteroids, leading to another handle on asteroid collisions and evolution - using nothing more than a tiny (25cm?) telescope and a cheap CCD camera (and analysis software, of course). You don't always need a Keck.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
  8. Mar 23, 2005 #7
    Numerical Cosmology.

    There are several data sets that are available here.


    These are some medium to very large simulations of the clustering of dark matter in the universe. The files are fairly large, but managable on a desktop computer bought within the last few years or a modern notebook. The nice thing is that while you need a super computer (I think these were done on a cluster in Germany) to do the simulations, you just need a regular old home computer to analyze the data. Figuring out what would be interesting to analyze is a little trickier...

    Note: Figuring out the specific formatting that is used by this group (or other publicly available data) is usually the hardest part about getting started.

    Good luck
  9. Mar 30, 2005 #8
    Astrophysics Research

    Here are some more urls that, I hope, might be helpful.

    Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moores University has pretty good overview on some astrophysics research areas. Below is the url.
    http://www.astro.livjm.ac.uk/research/areas.shtml [Broken]

    You can get survey information, Archives, astrophysics journals at Columbia university’s portal. http://www.astro.columbia.edu/~arlin/ASTROTOOLS/astrotools.html

    You can also search NASA’s database on astrophysics at http://www.adsabs.harvard.edu/

    There were websites (on astrophysics) that had lots of focus on high-red shift galaxies, gamma ray sources, high-energy astrophysics, particle astrophysics etc. But you can always keep your options option.
    Good luck with your research for Siemens-Westinghouse competition.

    - Trivikram Nallamshetty
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
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