Chantelle was born in Herford, Germany, but has lived most of her life in Salt Lake City, Utah. She currently attends the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, where she is studying astronomy, physics, and mathematics. Chantelle plans to go to graduate school, where she will work towards a PhD in astronomy or physics. Outside of her coursework, Chantelle regularly volunteers at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information, bringing astronomy to the local community through their stargazing program and outreach events. She also takes part in the University Astrophysics Club, for which she was elected secretary last year. Other activities Chantelle enjoys include hiking and snowshoeing.
Home Island: Big Island
Institution when accepted: University of Hawaii at Hilo
Akamai Project: Statistical Evaluation of Polarization Noise Data
Project Site: Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope
Mentors: David Harrington & Tom Schad
One feature of the sun that the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) aims to study is its magnetic field. The solar magnetic field cannot be observed directly, so it is studied through the polarizing effect it has on light. When the light from the sun enters the atmosphere of the Earth, however, the wavefront changes and introduces errors in the data collected. To help with evaluation of these errors, DKIST has a simulation tool to degrade images of the surface of the sun in response to atmospheric turbulence and to show the limited correction applied by adaptive optics (AO). The purpose of this project is to determine how these errors behave with different atmospheric conditions and how well the AO system can correct for these errors using the data from the simulator. We analyzed several data sets generated by the simulator to determine and compare time-dependent errors. Using the standard deviations of normalized differences between frames in the data sets, it was found that the error follows aN statistic for both uncorrected and AO corrected frames. To more accurately evaluate the polarization errors at smaller scales, the same statistical process was used to compare the AO performance in the edges and the center of the frame. Results indicate that the AO correction is many times better in the center of the frame than at the edges. The simulator only produces a ‘snapshot’ of what the data would look like after a given exposure time, whereas a real camera would be collecting light for the entire exposure. To assess the difference, the ‘snapshot’ frames were co-added to better reflect a true exposure time and compared with the original ‘snapshots’. The co-added images are blurrier around the edges than the ‘snapshots’ because the AO system stabilizes the center of the frame better as time goes on. While the simulator does not perfectly reflect reality, these methods of analysis confirm that the AO correction works best for the center of the frame and for better atmospheric conditions when collecting polarimetric data to study the solar magnetic field.