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Dipping my toe in the computational astro pool...

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Hello all! I've done some searching through the forums here for computational related topics and I didn't have much luck so my apologies if this is the wrong place...

A little background on myself. I'm a 38 year old software engineer who's been working in the CAD/CAM visualization industry for 15 years and I've reached the point where I'd really like to do something more fulfilling. With that in mind, I've been looking at some of my old interests including Astronomy and how I could incorporate my software development experience to help me switch to a job that I don't dread.

There seems to be a ton of astronomy data out there, but, I can't seem to come up with any ideas for manipulating it in a useful way. Any suggestions or advice? I'd be open to anything from grab some data from some website, put it in a database, and give it an interface that doesn't suck to go read up on exoplanet search techniques to write a program that performs some FFT's on some data or replaces black pixels in an image with pink...

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As an imager, colour caibration of images is always difficult. We have on databases the spectral classes of countless stars. Where these stars are not seen through gas and dust their colour can therefore be known.

In principle, could we not plate solve an image onto a map of the sky and have the software calibrtate the colour of the image based on several of the mapped stars of known spectral class?


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Thanks David O, that Zooniverse link looks pretty cool. I'm definitely going to dig into the exoplanet stuff! Thanks too for the open source recommendation, that never dawned on me...

Ollypenrice, do you mean something like figuring out how to filter an image based on known spectra of the other stars in the image? Makes sense to me. I'll research that a little further. Thanks for the idea!

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