TieDyeAstronomer Online Talks
The social distancing that came with the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how I interact with the astronomy community. I still love to teach, and learn, but most interaction now happens through Zoom calls and webinars.
On May 18th, 2021, I gave a 1hr 30 minute talk on via Zoom to students participating in the Bush School Astronomy Cascade in Seattle. I was invited to speak about “Experiences of a young astronomer”, and began by talking about my bumpy entrance into the amateur astronomy community, as well as sharing some tips from experience for being taken seriously as an astronomer who’s dramatically younger than those around her (be assertive, be persistent, keep asking questions, find a science-focused group). I then began talking about my present-day studies in spectrography, and giving a light introduction to the kind of science which the students would be doing later on in the cascade. Finally, I gave a speech about how the pressure thickly laid onto teenagers by adults to have the entire rest of their life figured out by age 17 is bogus, and closed with a quote from Zach Weinersmith which has personally helped my outlook on life greatly.
On March 5th, 2021, I gave a 60-minute presentation on the drift scanning method — DIY Spectrography on a Budget — to the Houston Astronomical Society, via Zoom. Since the average audience member was unlikely to have any previous experience with spectrography, I kept things simple, starting with an introduction to spectrography in general (as well as my motivations for pursing it) before moving on to a step-by-step tutorial for using the drift-scanning method. I displayed some of my own drift-scanned spectra, talked through their interpretation, and answered questions from the audience.
On Nov. 6th, 2020 I gave a 45-minute presentation on the drift scanning method — Let the Earth do the work! High Quality Spectra at Low Cost with the Drift Scanning Method — via Zoom during the AAVSO’s inaugural spectrography workshop, ASW2020. During my presentation, I told the story of how I came up with the drift scanning method, gave step-by-step instructions on how to use the method, and displayed some of my drift scanned results — including the resolution of blueshifted absorption lines in P Cygni’s atmosphere. You can watch a recording of that presentation here.
On August 22nd, 2020, I gave a 15-minute talk on the drift scanning method — How to Shoot Stellar Spectra with a Dobsonian — during an AAVSO Spectroscopy Observing Section webinar. My goal with this talk was to reveal how recording high quality spectra of the stars is easier than ever before believed… and I think I succeeded! I began by sharing the story of how I came up with the drift scanning method, a way to record scientific spectra using any telescope, even those without tracking drives. I showed how dark skies aren’t required when drift scanning, and how the large aperture of most telescopes means that your limiting magnitude will be much deeper using an untracked dobsonian than a standalone DSLR, even if the DSLR is on a tracking mount. Finally, I showed off some examples of spectra recorded with the drift scanning method. You can watch a recording of my presentation here.