Bay Students Attend American Astronomical Society Conference

Bay Students Attend American Astronomical Society Conference
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Bay physics and astronomy teacher David Friedlander-Holm spent January 7 to 11 with students at the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society in New Orleans. This was the culminating event for his cohort of Bay students who took part in the 2023 NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program, or NITARP. From the press release:

"Here are the teams that are presenting their work at the January 2023 AAS meeting.

2023 team working with Dr. Varoujan Gorjian (JPL/IPAC):

• David Friedlander-Holm (The Bay School of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA) – mentor teacher for the team
• Donald Carpenetti (Craven Community College, New Bern, NC)
• Spencer Cody (Edmunds Central School District, Roscoe, SD)
• Justin Hickey (Episcopal High School, Bellaire, TX)
• Cea Fortarezzo (Strawberry Mansion High School, Philadelphia, PA)

This team worked with Gaia and Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) data to study galaxies. The space-based Gaia survey telescope has a database of 1.2 billion sources that have been monitored for years to detect their motion on the sky induced by the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. This apparent motion is called parallax. Close objects should show greater parallax than further objects. But a small number of very far galaxies have unexpectedly shown significant parallax values in the Gaia data. This NITARP team tried to see how pervasive these unexpected parallaxes were in the Gaia data. They used a catalog of over 4 million far away galaxies identified by the space-based NASA WISE telescope, and matched them to the Gaia catalog. Because those galaxies are so far away, they should not have a parallax value in the Gaia catalog. But the team discovered over 400 sources that showed this unexpected parallax and tried to pin down whether these parallax values are reliable or the result of nearby sources that may be confusing the Gaia measurements."

NASA/IPAC press release

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Bay Students Attend American Astronomical Society Conference