At a recent American Astronomical Society conference, we were approached at our booth by a high school student named Piper Reid. She came by to tell us that she had used our software on a project she recently completed, and which had been accepted for the conference poster session.
Her project was to measure the physical properties of a binary star system using photometry and spectroscopy. She measured the rotation period, separation, radius and mass of BB Pegasi and 57 Cygni. For more information and a downloadable copy of her paper, see this link.
We’re also told (and, frankly, are somewhat envious!) that Piper had the opportunity to explain her poster to COBE researcher John Mather (2006 Nobel Laureate in Physics) and also to physicist John Grunsfield, five-time Shuttle astronaut!
Congratulations, Piper, on your project! We look forward to seeing more great things from you in the years to come.
Field Tested Systems had a booth at the recent American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach where we showed our RSpec software and gratings as well as our inexpensive video spectrometer for classrooms: link. This was a fun event for us because of the enthusiastic response we get from teachers when they see how easy (and inexpensive!) it is for students to do classroom spectroscopy:
Whether you’re an astronomy club, or high school classroom, Tom Field, the founder of Field Tested Systems can entertain and educate your group with a live video webinar on the the amazing field of astronomical spectroscopy. High school physics classes love Tom’s humorous and slightly wacky antics. (See link for details.) Tom’s article on using webinars for remote presentations appeared in the March issue of Sky & Telescope.
Long-time RSpec user Rick Hiestand has had his article on RSpec published in the US magazine Astronomy Technology Today. Right-click this link to save a pdf of the article to your computer. Or left-click to read it in your browser.
At the NEAF astronomy conference this Spring, we had a drawing at the RSpec booth for a give-away of a Star Analyser and a copy of the RSpec software. We were excited that the winner was Benjamin Palmer. Benjamin lives near the NEAF conference site in New York State. He’s passionate about astronomy.
And, although he’s only 16 years old, he’s already quite well-informed on astronomical topics. We really enjoyed meeting and chatting him. His excitement is contagious. Benjamin enthusiastically says, “I can’t wait to undertake my newest research project, ‘A Spectroscopic Study of Alpha Cygni Variables’ using RSpec and my new Star Analyser grating.”
We’ve exchanged several emails with him since the NEAF conference and we’re happy to say that Ben remains very excited about his plans for the upcoming summer observing season. Congratulations, Benjamin! We look forward to hearing more about your spectroscopic adventures! We predict a bright future for Ben! He’s shown in the photo with his 4.5 EQ reflector.
Iain Petrie is an amateur astronomer who lives in the UK. He has blogged his experience getting started in spectroscopy. Click on this link to go to his first of many articles:
Our booth at NEAF was jammed with attendees fascinated to discover how easy it is for amateurs to do spectroscopy with RSpec. Below is a write-up by Nick Howes in the June issue of the UK-based Astronomy Now Magazine. (link)
The Seattle Astronomical Society invited RSpec’s Tom Field to speak at their club meeting, hosted at the University of Washington. Greg Scheiderer was there and wrote about his experience: link.
Alberto Villalobos is a chemist who lives in Costa Rica. He has a blog named “On the Shoulders of Giants.” (Isn’t that a great name for an astronomy blog?!) Alberto used RSpec with a home video camera to capture spectra. Here’s his review: link. (Translated from the original Spanish by Google.)
The University of Iowa’s Department of Physics and Astronomy has posted some nice comments about RSpec and spectra that they processed using the program. Link.
We had the pleasure of presenting RSpec at the poster session of the AAS annual winter conference. This was a perfect crowd: thousands of professional astronomers and post secondary educators. And it was great fun to see the looks of initial disbelief followed by delight when we showed a spectrum that detected the red-shift of a quasar. (link) Neither the professional nor the amateur astronomy communities are aware of just how much amazing spectroscopy can be done with simple equipment.
Ken Hudson recently published this interview with Tom about RSpec and the world of spectroscopy: link.
Mark DeVito featured Tom in their daily astronomy podcast where they discussed how to get into spectroscopy and how RSpec fits into the big picture: link.
One exciting aspect of RSpec is that you can view spectra from a live video camera, including the astronomical cameras from The Imaging Source, who published this link.
The August 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope Magazine contained four-page article by Tom on spectroscopy:
Jeff Hopkins is an amateur astronomer who studies Be stars. He is part of a growing community of amateurs working with the pros. His Zeta Aurigae campaign site has some nice examples of RSpec being used to study Be eclipse data: link.
Have you posted an article on RSpec or some online spectral profiles that you processed in RSpec? If you’d like to share them with the RSpec community, send us the details and we’ll link to your site from here.