In this first week, Andrei, Kumai, and I have been researching the basics that will eventually be implemented in our program to calculate the habitable zone around a given star. For me this has entailed going through countless papers looking for the equations that determine the radius of the habitable zone. In doing so, I came across the fact that there are actually many ways to define what the habitable zone is. For example, the most common method is to find the area where liquid water could exist, but an equally important method is to look at the ultra-violet radiation. There needs to be a certain amount for some biological chemicals to be created, but too much would damage DNA. I have decided the best way to incorporate these in the model would be to calculate each separately and to display each as a different color in the visual. So far, I have found equations for three of the zones and have given these to Andrei to be implemented into the program.
In addition to our research, we had the opportunity to sit in on a very technical presentation about a new design for a spectroscope, which is a specific type of telescope that is very useful for detecting exoplanets. We also attended the weekly team meeting, which was a pretty casual forum where anyone could bring up new interesting discoveries they wanted to talk about and could bring in scientific papers that they thought were interesting and wanted to discuss.