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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Last Project

With project #1 complete, written up and accepted, and project #2 in its first draft, I am now onto the third and last project for my thesis. This is very exciting, since obviously the end is coming. I've even made a good dent in my thesis intro.

This project was the original one that my thesis topic was based on. It turns out, though, that the data I acquired isn't exactly spectacular. On Thursday and Friday I reduced the better set of data. Not too bad - a bit noisy, but the observing conditions weren't optimal. For this specific project though, it doesn't matter too much, since I'm only looking for evidence of emission lines. If they're not there, then the object is an asteroid. If they are there, then there is gas around it --> which means it has ices on it, and would therefore be classified as a comet.

Next week I plan on reducing the much bigger, but not so good, data set. Then, I have to decide what I'm going to do with all of this data. Chances are that I won't find any emission lines, but I need to find something to say about it or it just looks like it was a make-work project (which it sometimes felt like).

There are a few things I could have done, but I can't because I didn't take the right type of observations. This is the frustrating part, as I did this work early on in my PhD and therefore I knew absolutely nothing about what I should be doing. If I were to take these observations now, they would be much more complete.

Anyway, there's nothing I can do about it now. I'm just going to have to come up with a couple ways to analyze and discuss this data set. In the end, I might have to suck it up and realize it's not publishable, but at least I can put it into my thesis so other students can learn from my mistakes.