SAVS: Week 3

image showing Emily's laptop which is displaying a polar projection image plot using Python code
Emily successfully plotting a polar projection image using Python code


All my homies hate Python.

(Not actually – Emily and Michelle seem to have it working, so our group is saved… for now at least…)

On a more serious note, we’ve spent this week practising our Python coding so that we could create images from raw data that we have sourced. Emily and Jude have focused on this, and are compiling the information so that the rest of the team can make observations and comparisons. They also attended our Physics department’s Space and Planetary Physics discussion about Gas Giants, in the hopes that we might learn something to help us with our own gas giant. Not only did they introduce our project to some researchers but they also gained some contacts who may be able to help us with the coding and overall direction of our project.

Meanwhile, Michelle & Diyura have started making a skeleton for our report paper so that we know what we want to include within it and in what sections. They were also able to sort and organize some journal papers that we’ve found will be useful for our project.

We’ve decided that we can potentially examine how the intensity of the aurora changes with local time, for a full rotation in each season (Summer and Winter), likely within each hemisphere. We can also compare the morphological changes over time, and any detectable variations in the magnetic field during that time period.

Leah has been able to determine the optimal time periods to focus on, based on the investigations we are aiming to carry out on the aurora. She recorded which images were clearly displaying the whole aurora, rather than a fraction.

She noticed that there is an overlap of data from Cassini and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) over Northern Summers only. The lack of Southern Summer data means that we may need to do some approximations using earlier HST Southern projections and later Cassini data on the Southern Hemisphere. The position of HST prevents it from viewing any of the Winter seasonal events on either hemisphere, so we can only use Cassini’s data for this period. With all of this in mind, we have concluded that we will focus on Cassini’s data for 2004, 2013-14, 2017 and Hubble’s data for 2008, 2013, 2016, 2017.

FUN FACT: The Cassini orbiter spacecraft carried 12 different science instruments. One of them was the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS), an optical remote sensing device acting like our eyes and ears. This allowed us to get information from remote objects without actually being in direct contact with them. It had two spectrographic channels, which observed light over wavelengths from 56 to 118 nm (extreme ultraviolet) and 110 to 190 nm (far ultraviolet). UVIS created images using these measurements.

The mission continues next week but until then “Goodbye, for now, until you read again!”

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