Jason Curtis, Associate research scientist has worked to understand ages of the millions of stars in the Milky Way, eventually giving us an idea of how the galaxy evolved. He worked with Agüeros and Ruth Angus, an astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and with NYC high-school students through AMNH’s Science Research Mentoring Program in the past two years.
According to his interview, Ages of stars can be measured on how fast they spin and the study to determine this is known as gyrochronology. He says that newborn stars spin faster whereas old stars like the sun spin slowly. Based on this fact, stars live and die and are not eternal.
This research involves data which was initially gathered twenty years ago through images from telescope, but now NASA’s Kepler spacecraft and TESS satellite along with European space agency’s Gaia satellite has helped largely in gathering data with ease. The information obtained can easily be uploaded through Google Colab and the estimation of the speed at which the stars spin can be measured through Python. Teaching methods and notes are being developed on Python to help students understand the work being done.
High school students of NYC are also working on the measurements related to the brightness of stars to make a light curve showing fluctuations of stars with its rotations. They have also built a tool M39 to study 400 million-year cluster. M39 classifies light curves to train algorithms.
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