My first day of work experience at ICRAR was at Curtin Uni. When we arrived we met the other students and we were taken to the ‘fishbowl’ a room with chairs desks computers and a… ‘fishbowl’ we were told if we got lost to come here. The first thing we did was learn about pulsars from one of the researchers, we then used that information to make predictions based on data we just learned. We also attended a presentation of what a PhD student was working on.
The second day was at UWA, we started today with a talk with Kevin which was more of a crash-course on the ‘basics’ of astronomy, which was helpful, still, sometimes people say things and you will have no clue what it means, either ask a question or just nod, depending on the situation. We went on to talk to Danail about observational astronomy which was interesting to compare with the next person who was a theoretical astrologist. Overall a very useful day for figuring out your career path.
The third day was at Curtin, this was a more hands on day. We were given data that we had to run with software to interpret. Our goal was to find satellites streaking across the data and determine which one it was. We were told we would need to submit our results as a report that would be used later so … yay, we helped… slightly. We listened to a few people talk about their work and then we were back on the computers using more data to determine the speed of objects moving in the sky. This was challenging but we eventually figured it out… sort of. Quick tip, if you ever do this, don’t accidentally crop the whole picture out, it doesn’t help.
The fourth day was also at Curtin, We were given a bit of time to finalise our reports on the satellites and then we talked to Budi and Adrian, the engineers. This was an interesting look into a different aspect of astronomy, the tech. We learned about how the dishes and their bits and bobs worked (definitely the technical terms). Useful for the people who think they might want to be engineers.
Our final day was at UWA, first thing we did was see the SPIRIT telescope on the top of the building. We then had a brief get-together of all the people in the building where any visitors, like us, introduced themselves. Later we attended ‘Plot Of the Week’ where researchers show their favourite plot and vote to see whats the best one, the winner gets a cool shirt for the week, basically just bragging rights, then we played Geoguesser for educational purposes. The final thing we did was weigh a galaxy. well, thats what its called but I would like to state that we did not get an answer in Newtons we got one in kilograms so the title should really be amended to Finding the Mass of a Galaxy, anyway, we used maths to find the MASS of a galaxy and that was really fun, and confusing.