Date of Graduation

Spring 2013


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Computer Science


Computer Science

Committee Chair

Lloyd Smith


automation, astronomy, analysis, light curve, GUI

Subject Categories

Computer Sciences


In recent years, sky surveys have provided astronomers with a wealth of data that can beused for such activities as studying stellar evolution and finding extrasolar planets.Unfortunately, such surveys produce more data than astronomers can analyze by hand. Atypical night of observation for the Baker Observatory Sub-minute (BOSS), for example,is 9–12 hours yielding 2000–3000 images. The goal of the work described here is toautomate the data processing stages of the BOS Survey, taking raw images from thetelescope and producing normalized and synchronized images that are suitable for furtheranalysis. The original process required manual intervention at each stage of processing,with specialized astronomy software and execution of numerous software commands oneach image. A new graphical user interface (GUI) has been built to ease the use of theprocessing software and to lower the learning curve for new users. The GUI is written inC++ with Qt and depends largely on scripts written in Perl and R under Linux. The scriptslargely automate the process of writing files and executing commands. Humanintervention is still required to provide parameters controlling the reduction process, butthe user can now accomplish the task with a few clicks of a mouse, saving many hours oflabor.


© Lee Lorenzo Hicks

Campus Only