Jessi Willstrop was raised in Texas and has been living on Maui for the past 6 years.  She is currently attending Maui Community College and will transfer to UH Manoa in the fall to begin working on her B.S. in physics.  In her spare time, she enjoys playing various sports with her husband.

Home Island: Mainland
Institution when accepted: Maui Community College

Akamai Project: Investigation of the Presence of Molecular Hydrogen in Sunspots

Project Site: Institute for Astronomy, Maui

Mentors: J.D. Armstrong & Joe Ritter

Project Abstract:

The penumbra of a sunspot is a light region that surrounds the much cooler umbra at the center.  The goal of this project is to determine the intensity of molecular hydrogen in the umbra and penumbra to gain a better understanding of the formation of sunspots. Penumbral growth was observed by viewing images of active regions of the Sun where sunspots were forming. To measure the intensity of molecular hydrogen, a spectrometer that detects in the infrared must be used.  The Varian 7000 FT-IR, a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, is the instrument being used to take spectra of the sunspots. We learned to install and operate the FT-IR.  The instrument was then tested and calibrated in the laboratory environment with an infrared source to verify the proper operation.  After calibration, the instrument was connected to the Institute for Astronomy’s Solar-C telescope on Haleakala with an infrared fiber light feed.  Infrared spectra of the sun will be presented.