8th HEAD Meeting, 8-11 September, 2004
Session 16 Missions, Instruments and Data Analysis
Poster, Thursday, September 9, 2004, 9:00am-10:00pm

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[16.28] Student Analysis of High Energy Astronomy Data using Hera

J. C. Lochner (USRA - NASA/GSFC), W. D. Pence (NASA/GSFC)

We present a software and data environment that allows students to experience the same analysis process that an astronomer follows in analyzing data from archived satellite observations. Using the Hera environment, developed by the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), users run analysis software on servers hosted at the HEASARC via a client interface. Data sets may reside on either the userís machine or the host machine. The student version of Hera uses a subset of the available software, and makes available selected data sets from the HEASARC archive. We also created an accompanying web-based lesson plan for exploring timing data of binary star systems containing a black hole or a neutron star. Students use plotting, estimation, and statistical techniques to find the orbital periods of several such systems, and to draw conclusions on the natures of the systems (one is an eclipsing binary, for example, which they discover for themselves). Thus, students are able to extend basic math and science concepts into real applications. The package is self-guided; students can work independently or in groups. This module has also been adapted for college level Astronomy 101 labs (Hufnagel, Lochner, and Howard, 2004, BAAS, 36, 685). Future lesson plans will involve spectral and image analysis of objects such as supernova remnants. Hera will also be integrated into the exisiting lesson plans on the Imagine the Universe! web site. The web based guide, with instructions for installing the student version of Hera, is available via the Imagine the Universe! site at http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/teachers/hera/.

Hera was developed via funding from the NASA AISR program. Initial funding for the student version of Hera was provided by the GSFC Directors Discretionary Funding program.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/teachers/hera/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: lochner@milkyway.gsfc.nasa.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.