Megan Ansdell was lucky enough to be born and raised on the island of O’ahu where she graduated from Punahou School in 2004. She currently attends the University of St. Andrews in Scotland where she is in her second year of pursuing a masters degree in astrophysics. She enjoys the experience of living in a foreign country and hopes to someday come back to Hawai’i and have a career in astronomy. She enjoys surfing (although, doesn’t get to do much of that in Scotland), hiking, traveling and has a passion for art as well.
Home Island: O’ahu
Institution when accepted: University of St. Andrews in Scotland
Akamai Project: De-Fringing of High Resolution MICHELLE Spectra Through Fourier Filtering
Project Site: Gemini Observatory
Mentor: Scott Fisher
MICHELLE is the facility mid-infrared instrument on the Gemini North Telescope where it is an imager and high-resolution spectrometer that is optimized for observing from 7-26 microns. Unfortunately, interference within the detector of the instrument causes background fringes that contaminate some high-resolution MICHELLE spectra. The only viable way to remove the fringes is through a method of Fourier Filtering developed by the Gemini staff. Fourier Filtering is a mathematical process that eliminates the fringes by manipulating the data without significantly distorting the signal. However, the complexity of the fringes makes this process extensive and tedious when done manually. The goal of this project was to utilize IDL to create a program and GUI (Graphical User Interface) that makes the Fourier Filtering of MICHELLE spectra straightforward and less time consuming. This was accomplished by searching online IDL libraries for related programs, and then customizing and combining them to produce several experimental Fourier Filtering programs tailored specifically to de-fringing MICHELLE spectra. The limited timeframe of this project prohibited the production of a finalized program, however, a substantial foundation has been fashioned and a finished product is expected shortly. The program will be distributed to all researchers that acquire MICHELLE spectra from Gemini, and will be available to download from the Gemini North website so it can be personalized by other scientists to be compatible with any spectral data.