Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wrangling the TOPCAT

I will try to keep this one short, since I am being overwhelmed by a combination of homework and computer programs that don't want to work. 

Today, I woke up at a late 7:30 to try to at least partially recover from staying up until 1 AM last night working on my class notes and lab. Hmm...someone needs to work on their time management skills. Anyways, in a half-awake stupor, I ate breakfast and got to class.

Class was a flurry of learning. First, we tried to look at the sun through a special telescope, but the cloudy morning weather didn't exactly help. Then, we had to learn how to use a new graphing program called TOPCAT. Think of TOPCAT as an overpowered Microsoft Excel. Since I had technical difficulties, I couldn't download the program and had to look on while other students followed the teachers' tutorial on the program. 

Oh TOPCAT, why must you be so confusing?
After a busy lunch where I furiously tried to learn how to use the program on a school computer, the second half of class started. We were supposed to calculate the radius of the Earth's orbit around the sun based on by finding the radial velocity of a reference star, which is impossible as it seems, I must have spent around three hours trying to figure that one out.

When class ended, I decided to go for a refreshing swim while thinking about some homework problems. It was really nice to relax and work out for free, one of the many benefits of our UChicago ID. I wish I had one at home, since then I wouldn't have an excuse to be lazy.

For the remainder of the day, nothing really happened, except for a short fire alarm. Everyone was forced to evacuate the dorm, and two fire trucks came, but after about ten minutes we were allowed to go back in. I still have no idea what happened.

For the past few days, I haven't felt tired, but my body is probably exhausted. But as much as I would like to sleep, I really must finish up some lab work...

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