I was motivated to choose the topic of the relationship between a star’s mass and its temperature because it seemed like a cool research question and one that could be easily answered through coding. However, because we lacked access to the data necessary, my group and I came up with a new research question about the relationship between a star’s position and its radius, as it seemed like the easiest thing to answer with our available data.
However, I had to learn several new skills to properly research this question. I had to learn how to code in Python, which wasn’t that hard given my past coding experience (I learned Java last year, and this was similar to Java). I also had to learn how to use Wix to create a website to relay our research to the public. And I had to learn how to read scientific papers and get past all the jargon to get the information I desired from them.
During our research, I learned about some interesting things. I learned that the recorded “radius” of each bubble is simply the angular distance, not the actual radius itself (which required the distance form the bubble to Earth to find). Another thing I learned was about the Galactic Coordinate System, which is how scientists note the position of stars in the Galaxy, similar to how positions are noted on Earth using the Geographic Coordinate System. I also learned that the center of the Galactic Coordinate System is our Sun, but the center of the galaxy is called the Galactic Center, which is the area the Milky Way rotates around.
Towards the end of our research, we discovered that there were noticeably more bubbles in certain parts of the area the data was recorded in than others. Most notably, the bottom-left quadrant had the most bubbles, the right half of the area had more bubbles than the left, and the lower half of the area had more bubbles than the upper half. We noticed that to the right was the Galactic Center, and that the right was closer to the edge of the Milky Way.
However, despite all our hard work, we still failed to answer our question, and we only gained another question to find an answer to. But since we lacked the time to do so, we ended our research abruptly. If we had more time, we’d try to contact the researchers for the Milky Way Project and see if we could get the actual distances of each bubble to answer our “position-radius relationship” question. And we’d also research what exactly makes a bubble more likely to be near the Galactic Center than the areas farther away from it to answer our new question. Finally, I’d be interested in knowing what others would find when recreating our research project, and see if there was anything notable that we’d failed to find.