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Jean Tate
2014-Oct-26, 09:44 AM
... which professional astronomers are hardly likely to ever get around to.

Or "areas open to today's citizen scientists, who have oceans of high quality data (free!), excellent tools (also free), and Maxwell-would-die-for computing power (not quite free) available to them pretty much instantly. There are plenty of examples, right here in the CosmoQuest Forum's threads ... dark matter as something other than 'essentially zero EM cross section mass' (from molecular hydrogen to some variant of MOND, with a dozen way stations in between), to take just one class of examples." (source (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153505-Researcher-Shows-Black-Holes-Don-t-Exist&p=2249627#post2249627))

This is a thread for discussing some of these fascinating research ideas; for tossing them out, for fleshing them out, for exploring tools and techniques, for suggesting data sources and methods to access them, etc, etc, etc.

"[...] it is hard to make progress if you don't have a fairly complete set of skills. It is a huge ocean, and we have lots of boats, if you will, but not lots of sailors. You're saying, why not try, no one drowns in this analogy. But it still might not be possible-- people without sophisticated sailing skills might not get very far. Still, perhaps there are some problems more conducive to what you are talking about, than the search for the theory of everything." (source (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153505-Researcher-Shows-Black-Holes-Don-t-Exist&p=2249698#post2249698))

"I'd love to dive into the mass of wonderfully free data that is out there and develop something that was previously unknown, but time is a highly limiting factor. Also, grad students are typically given worthwhile projects or problems to investigate by their adviser or mentor. Amateurs do not have the broad knowledge of the advising tenured prof to know what makes an interesting and worthwhile project to work on. I think they could really use a mentor." (source (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153992-Why-is-there-essentially-zero-work-being-done-by-Citizen-Scientists-(amateurs)&p=2250540#post2250540))

"There's no actual reason why an amateur couldn't contribute as much to the science of astronomy as a professional can." (source (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153992-Why-is-there-essentially-zero-work-being-done-by-Citizen-Scientists-(amateurs)&p=2250848#post2250848))

As Cougar reminded us (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153992-Why-is-there-essentially-zero-work-being-done-by-Citizen-Scientists-(amateurs)&p=2250540#post2250540), from this forum's deep ancestry, three citizen scientists did some independent research, using freely available data, into a topic of great interest to them. And they got their results published (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008Ap%26SS.315..249J)! :clap:

In the next post I'll make a shameless plug for give an example of something I'm currently working on.

(Mods: if you think this thread would be more comfortable in a different section, please move it)

Jean Tate
2014-Oct-26, 10:47 AM
Here's a fascinating area of research (in astronomy; I am biased in the extreme, I don't 'do' anything else), one which I am engaged in. I think it may be of interest to professional astronomers, but I don't really care if it is or not, because I'm going to work on it regardless.

E+A, or K+A, galaxies are those (roughly speaking) whose spectra look an awful lot like that of an elliptical ('dead and red') galaxy and an A star (spectroscopic class). For example, SDSS J133757.98+654410.4 (http://skyserver.sdss3.org/dr9/en/tools/explore/obj.asp?ra=204.492&dec=65.7362) [1]:

http://skyservice.pha.jhu.edu/DR9/ImgCutout/getjpeg.aspx?ra=204.49160565&dec=65.73623612&scale=0.2&width=200&height=200
http://skyserver.sdss3.org/dr9/en/get/specById.asp?id=559633584843941888

These galaxies are, currently, thought to be 'quenched' or 'post-quenched'; they experienced a burst of star-formation 'recently', but it stopped. The most massive and brightest stars have all gone supernova, leaving A stars to dominate the light (which is why many of these galaxies look white in SDSS images). The E (for elliptical) or K (for spectral class) comes from, so it is thought, the vast bulk of stars - by number - the red giants and old main sequence stars from before the recent starburst [2]

There's an online, citizen science, project - called, appropriately enough, Quench (http://quench.galaxyzoo.org/#/project) - which involves study of these galaxies; for my own research it is a fantastic data source! :) What I am working on is something well beyond that project's scope; namely, quenched galaxies as radio sources. For this I use the freely available, online, Unified Radio Catalog; to do the matching, I use TOPCAT. While there are online calculators for things like " per kpc by z, and flux to luminosity, since I have many hundred objects to investigate, I wrote my own routines for these.

I've already found lots of cool things! :D And will surely find lots more. The only downside is, I have no idea where to turn, should I wish to write up my findings, so as to share them with others who might be interested. :(

The above is, of course, a pretty terse outline; if you, dear reader, are interested in learning more - or, better still, interested in becoming a collaborator in this project - just say so!! Either by replying, or by sending me a PM.

[1] I seem to not be able to post images (where's the 'How To?' thread?) Clicking on the links should show the SDSS image cutout and simplified spectrum as a PNG image; if not, click on the link with the name
[2] Note to professional astronomers who may be reading along: yes, I am well aware that I'm mangling the explanation, perhaps more than a bit!

StupendousMan
2014-Oct-27, 12:33 AM
Why not have an on-line discussion here on the Cosmoquest forum? It permits you to communicate easily with many other people. You might need a place to stick PDF copies of some documents, I suppose; do you have a place you can post files and make them available to the outside world?

Once your work is ready for publication, you can post it on arXiv. You could submit it to one of the major journals, if you wished to do so. Some have no page charges, or relatively small page charges. MNRAS might be a good choice. I'm sure that by the time your work reaches that stage, you'll receive many suggestions.

Jean Tate
2014-Oct-27, 04:13 PM
Thanks StupendousMan! :)


Why not have an on-line discussion here on the Cosmoquest forum? It permits you to communicate easily with many other people. You might need a place to stick PDF copies of some documents, I suppose; do you have a place you can post files and make them available to the outside world?
I've been using my Google+ account for images, which I can then post elsewhere (here (http://talk.galaxyzoo.org/#/boards/BGZ0000006/discussions/DGZ00010rv?page=1&comment_id=544ac13b57123038e50003cf), for example). I don't know if this would work for PDF files.

I've seen others use Dropbox, but have not used it myself; ditto Google Docs. I'll play around a bit, and see what works. In the meantime, does anyone else have experience with Dropbox, Google Docs, etc (for uploading PDFs, and making them available)?


Once your work is ready for publication, you can post it on arXiv.
That's certainly a nice idea; however, as far as I know, to post on arXiv you need an 'endorser' ("Which authors of this paper are endorsers?" is what it says).

How do you become an endorser? Is any regular CQuestian an endorser? Can anyone explain how this works, in some detail? Preferably from first-hand experience.


You could submit it to one of the major journals, if you wished to do so. Some have no page charges, or relatively small page charges. MNRAS might be a good choice. I'm sure that by the time your work reaches that stage, you'll receive many suggestions.

Yes, I agree; if ever I were to successfully post something on arXiv, I'd certainly let my fellow CQuestians know about it, and, at least, be asking for their advice (etc) on where to go next! :D The CQ forum is really great like that. :clap:

StupendousMan
2014-Oct-27, 04:29 PM
Thanks StupendousMan! :)

That's certainly a nice idea; however, as far as I know, to post on arXiv you need an 'endorser' ("Which authors of this paper are endorsers?" is what it says).

How do you become an endorser? Is any regular CQuestian an endorser? Can anyone explain how this works, in some detail? Preferably from first-hand experience.


Endorsers are described at

http://arxiv.org/help/endorsement

I'm an endorser, as are at least a few other QC regulars (you might check with ngc3314, for example).

Cougar
2014-Oct-28, 12:48 AM
...it is hard to make progress if you don't have a fairly complete set of skills....

Another problem is the level of knowledge and specialization these days. This is not the 1920s! and amateurs can be quickly overwhelmed by how much they don't know (except in the Against the Mainstream forum, haha). Of course, the 1920s didn't have the SDSS Sky Server (http://skyserver.sdss.org/public/en/home.aspx), either. I guess I'm not that interested in just doing science, but rather doing science I'm particularly interested in, which is cosmology - the ultimate in impracticality. :neutral: Maybe I'll just write a book on what we've come to know about our Universe, from an amateur's perspective, for amateurs. Heck, I've read enough of them. :rolleyes:

Jean Tate
2014-Oct-28, 10:07 AM
Thanks very much StupendousMan! :clap: :clap:


Another problem is the level of knowledge and specialization these days. This is not the 1920s! and amateurs can be quickly overwhelmed by how much they don't know (except in the Against the Mainstream forum, haha). Of course, the 1920s didn't have the SDSS Sky Server (http://skyserver.sdss.org/public/en/home.aspx), either. I guess I'm not that interested in just doing science, but rather doing science I'm particularly interested in, which is cosmology - the ultimate in impracticality. :neutral: Maybe I'll just write a book on what we've come to know about our Universe, from an amateur's perspective, for amateurs. Heck, I've read enough of them. :rolleyes:

Cool! :)

If I were to make some suggestions on what you, as an independent citizen science researcher (what a mouthful!), might consider doing, in cosmology, would you find that interesting? Of course, it doesn't have to be just me who makes such suggestions; there are surely quite a few CQuestians who could toss some ideas out too, aren't there? :D

Jean Tate
2014-Oct-28, 10:41 AM
This is a thread for discussing some of these fascinating research ideas; for tossing them out, for fleshing them out, for exploring tools and techniques, for suggesting data sources and methods to access them, etc, etc, etc.

So, I've written a post on one piece of research I myself am doing (and gotten some wonderful responses; thank you, thank you, StupendousMan).

What about other fascinating things?

Well, here are few threads in this very section of the CQ forum which I think contain ideas which could well be researched by a CQuestian (or fifty), using just their laptop, broadband internet connection, and freely available (and free) software [1]:

Large Scale Anomalies/Paradoxes (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153751-Large-Scale-Anomalies-Paradoxes): perhaps I'm naive, but I think William (or any CQuestian) could do their own research into many aspects of the 'anomalies/paradoxes' posted there, using freely available online data from the world's premier astronomical facilities. Discuss?

The Galactic rotation curve and stellar velocities in Globular clusters (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153460-The-Galactic-rotation-curve-and-stellar-velocities-in-Globular-clusters): there is some, pretty basic, independent research in that (now locked) thread; however, it seems to me there are lots of opportunities for those CQuestians who 'expressed doubt' (shall I say) to do their own, independent research, using online datasets. Discuss?

Hubble Discovers Vast New Reservoir of Gas Near the Milky Way (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?152204-Hubble-Discovers-Vast-New-Reservoir-of-Gas-Near-the-Milky-Way): this thread rambled a bit, IMHO; however, in rambling, it touched on lots of topics at least some aspects of which are surely open to being researched by any CQuestian, right?

Green Pea galaxies (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?143475-Green-Pea-galaxies): Likely I'm far to close to this, but surely there are dozen and one fascinating things any CQuestian could research? For example, from Cardamone+ (2009) (full reference in the thread), "Using the CasJobs4 application provided by SDSS, we uniformly searched the DR7 spectroscopic sample for Peas (originally noticed by eye in Galaxy Zoo) in the redshift range 0.112 < z < 0.360 where the [O III] λ5007Å line is in the r-band filter." So, what about Blue Peas (i.e. z < 0.112)? Red Peas (z > 0.360)? Green Peas in DR10? [OII] λ3728Å Peas? [SII] λ6733Å Peas [2]?

So many fascinating things, so little time ... :(

[1] plus, to be sure, advice and suggestions from fellow CQuestians! :D
[2] I can't quite get the hang of the nomenclature here; for example, both [OII] and [SII] are doublets (and [OIII] a triplet), so which one do you quote? The stronger one; but which is it? And at the SDSS spectroscopic resolution, the [OII] doublet is barely split ... :confused:

KlausH
2014-Oct-28, 11:19 AM
In the meantime, does anyone else have experience with Dropbox, Google Docs, etc (for uploading PDFs, and making them available)?

I only have experience with Dropbox. (I don't like google. They are way too data hungry for my taste.)

Dropbox is free (also ad-free) and fully functional for the first 2GB (plenty for your purposes).
It is very easy to use and very reliable. I have been using it for a number of years pretty much daily, professionally and privately. Never lost a file.

The principle is very easy:
You basically share a folder on your hard drive. Whatever you write into that folder (any file type, no restrictions that I know of) is automatically saved on Dropbox servers and available to you wherever you go and have internet access.

Specifically of interest for your purposes might be the feature of sharing a file publicly via a link.
If you put a file (any type) into your public dropbox folder you can give people a link (http://dropbox.com/...) to your file(s).
(To be precise it's a link to the copy of your file on the dropbox server. Nobody gets access to any files on your computer.)

All you need to do is put the file into the public dropbox folder on your hard drive, right-click on it to get the link, copy it to your clipboard and paste it wherever you want to publish it.

As a general rule I would recommend to encrypt important information if you want to or need to share it on any internet server.

Cougar
2014-Oct-28, 12:23 PM
If I were to make some suggestions on what you, as an independent citizen science researcher (what a mouthful!), might consider doing, in cosmology, would you find that interesting?

Yes, of course. I'll include you as second author. :)

grapes
2014-Oct-28, 12:32 PM
A couple months ago poster citpeks presented an ATM idea about the Carolina bays and similar structures around the North American continent. They requested that we add the bays/structures to our citizen science agenda. I think it would be a great idea to include the earth in our planetology! :)

http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153071-Stop-ignoring-the-Carolina-Bays

Jean Tate
2014-Oct-29, 02:56 PM
Thanks KlausH. :)


Dropbox is free (also ad-free) and fully functional for the first 2GB (plenty for your purposes).
It is very easy to use and very reliable. I have been using it for a number of years pretty much daily, professionally and privately. Never lost a file.

The principle is very easy:
You basically share a folder on your hard drive. Whatever you write into that folder (any file type, no restrictions that I know of) is automatically saved on Dropbox servers and available to you wherever you go and have internet access.

Specifically of interest for your purposes might be the feature of sharing a file publicly via a link.
If you put a file (any type) into your public dropbox folder you can give people a link (http://dropbox.com/...) to your file(s).
(To be precise it's a link to the copy of your file on the dropbox server. Nobody gets access to any files on your computer.)

All you need to do is put the file into the public dropbox folder on your hard drive, right-click on it to get the link, copy it to your clipboard and paste it wherever you want to publish it.

I now have a Dropbox account (if that's the right term), and have spent some time learning how it works.

As a test, I loaded the PDF version of a paper which I had downloaded from the MNRAS website to my Dropbox. I clicked, and created a link. Here is that link (https://www.dropbox.com/s/bw38wsl8lmcb60p/MNRAS-2009-Cardamone-1191-205.pdf?dl=0). If you - or any CQuestian reading this - wouldn't mind clicking on it (and downloading the file?), then letting me know what it is, I'd appreciate it. I think the URL itself contains the file name, at least as it is/was on my hard drive.

(by the way, I do hope me walking through things like this, in this thread, is - or will be - helpful to other CQuestians!)


As a general rule I would recommend to encrypt important information if you want to or need to share it on any internet server.

Yes, that is certainly a good idea!

The images I have on my Google+ account are those which have (or plan to) post as URLs, in websites such as the CQ forum. I guess for those it doesn't make a lot of sense to encrypt them.

For PDF files in my Dropbox which I plan to share, or those which I have downloaded from open sites on the web, same thing.

But what about Dropbox files in general? The way Dropbox works, as I understand it, once a file is in your Dropbox, it's also sitting somewhere in the cloud, in a Dropbox server; how else could you access it from another device? So if I have a paper I'm working on, if I put the various files related to it (including the text file that will eventually become the PDF) into my Dropbox, you'd recommend encrypting them (or at least the key files)?

If I understand the standard Dropbox account settings correctly, I cannot restrict access to a file, once a URL/link is created; anyone with that link can access it! If I upgrade to Pro, however, I can set a password, and/or an expiration date.

Jean Tate
2014-Oct-29, 03:15 PM
Why not have an on-line discussion here on the Cosmoquest forum? It permits you to communicate easily with many other people. You might need a place to stick PDF copies of some documents, I suppose; do you have a place you can post files and make them available to the outside world?

Once again, many thanks, StupendousMan! :clap:

As you can see from my previous post, following KlausH's suggestion, I can now share PDF files (and more) with my fellow CQuestians.

What seems like a bazillion years' ago, in an earlier life, I could simply click on an option in a pull-down menu, and bingo! my document would be converted to a PDF!

Today, entirely on my own, with only free software such as Open Office [1]. So I need to learn how to create PDFs, in a step-by-step way. And if I intend to submit any papers I may write to a journal such as MNRAS, I will need to learn how to format them according to their requirements. Which, working backwards, suggests that it may be a good idea to first learn how to, then get into the habit of, writing up my work/research results in a way that permits fairly straight-forward conversion (?) to MNRAS-acceptable PDF format.

As it happens, I do have a sorta paper, already written, and sorta (very sorta!) published. It's in a format very different from that a journal would accept [2], so purely as an exercise in learning how to create an MNRAS-acceptable PDF, I think I'll spend some time converting (and editing!) it. And if I post here, that might be of some interest and assistance to other CQuestians who may be interested in learning 'how to'.

Question: how does CQ feel about this part of the forum being used by a citizen scientist like me to post research ideas/results/PDFs/draft papers?

[1] Well, not entirely; this laptop runs Windows 7, but that was bundled with the hardware. I do have a Linux machine - so the OS is 'free' - but curiously (or not) it was more expensive than this laptop, even though its RAM etc is comparable.
[2] Actually, I don't know this for sure; however, by appearance alone, I'd say the formats are not only different but likely incompatible in several ways

Jean Tate
2014-Oct-29, 03:23 PM
Yes, of course.

Cool! :)

Watch this space ...

But it doesn't have to be (just) me; any CQUestian can post ideas and suggestions! :D


I'll include you as second author. :)

Thanks, but I would only accept being a second author if I did some real work, that made a real difference. This post (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153992-Why-is-there-essentially-zero-work-being-done-by-Citizen-Scientists-(amateurs)&p=2251291#post2251291) (by Amber Robot) seems to point to a practice among professionals for adding, as co-authors, fellow professionals who contributed little to the actual paper. :eek: I don't know about you, but that is rather incompatible with my view/understanding of how astronomy works. :p

galacsi
2014-Oct-29, 08:22 PM
Thanks KlausH !This dropbox will greatly improve my life. :clap:

@Tate : is
Galaxy Zoo Green Peas: discovery of a class of compact extremely star-forming galaxies a good answer ? Did I got the extra 250 Mbytes ! :D

Jens
2014-Oct-30, 05:48 AM
Thanks, but I would only accept being a second author if I did some real work, that made a real difference. This post (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?153992-Why-is-there-essentially-zero-work-being-done-by-Citizen-Scientists-(amateurs)&p=2251291#post2251291) (by Amber Robot) seems to point to a practice among professionals for adding, as co-authors, fellow professionals who contributed little to the actual paper. :eek: I don't know about you, but that is rather incompatible with my view/understanding of how astronomy works. :p

It's also incompatible with proper research ethics, and can be considered malpractice. I recently had to take a course in research ethics, and it was mentioned.

StupendousMan
2014-Oct-30, 12:43 PM
Most of the major astronomy journals require authors to submit their manuscripts in LaTeX format; each journal has its own LaTeX style file, which basically defines a bunch of macros. If you are serious about submitting work to the journals, you'll need to learn how to format your work in this way. There are lots and lots of guides on-line. It's not so bad, actually -- the great majority of the text will just be, well, plain ASCII text, with blank lines between chunks to denote new paragraphs. You might find the method of writing equations a bit painful at first, but most people find that it is more flexible and intuitive than using Word for mathematical typesetting.

I don't see the need to encrypt your work, since you aren't describing any secrets. Yes, some nefarious person could read your paper; so what? If it doesn't have pictures of naked people or the locations of nuclear material, that nefarious person is going to ignore it.

Jean Tate
2014-Oct-30, 02:04 PM
Thanks KlausH !This dropbox will greatly improve my life. :clap:

@Tate : is a good answer ?

Yes, it is; thank you for confirming that it works! :)


Did I got the extra 250 Mbytes ! :D

No, not any extra MB, but perhaps a recommendation for a 'work while standing up' desk ... I've read that too much sitting in armchairs while doing citizen science is bad for your health :p

galacsi
2014-Oct-30, 04:50 PM
By the way I manage to get 48.25 free Go from Dropbox. I just followed their process.
About my health ,doing my garden is also something to consider !
I tried to do some Mapping ,of the moon I believe, but this try has aborted fast, because I was unable to understand and use the proposed method. And working free for somebody else without really mastering what you do and the reason you do it , is not my idea of fun.this is masochism.

Amber Robot
2014-Oct-30, 05:19 PM
This post[/URL] (by Amber Robot) seems to point to a practice among professionals for adding, as co-authors, fellow professionals who contributed little to the actual paper. :eek: I don't know about you, but that is rather incompatible with my view/understanding of how astronomy works. :p

I was simply reporting on things that I have seen in the field. I certainly do not condone this behavior. I have even asked that I have my name removed from author lists before. The most authors I've had on a paper that I was first author on was four, but that was only one paper. The rest have been three authors, but typically it's just two people doing the majority of the work.

KlausH
2014-Oct-31, 02:28 AM
For PDF files in my Dropbox which I plan to share, or those which I have downloaded from open sites on the web, same thing.
That depends on the content. You only need to encrypt data if you want to prevent unauthorized access.
If you're just sharing a few pics and pdf docs and none of them have sensitive info, don't worry about encryption.
Encryption certainly complicates things, especially if you want share encrypted data with only a select few recipients.


But what about Dropbox files in general? The way Dropbox works, as I understand it, once a file is in your Dropbox, it's also sitting somewhere in the cloud, in a Dropbox server; how else could you access it from another device?
That's correct. That's the principle.


So if I have a paper I'm working on, if I put the various files related to it (including the text file that will eventually become the PDF) into my Dropbox, you'd recommend encrypting them (or at least the key files)?
Only if the above criteria applies.
For the purposes you have so far described here, you won't need encryption.
I only mentioned it as a general rule because anything you put into your dropbox is on their server and can potentially be hacked.


If I understand the standard Dropbox account settings correctly, I cannot restrict access to a file, once a URL/link is created; anyone with that link can access it! If I upgrade to Pro, however, I can set a password, and/or an expiration date.
Correct. However, I think you may find that the free version of Dropbox has all the features you'll need.

Jean Tate
2014-Oct-31, 07:49 PM
Thanks, again, to StupendousMan, KlausH, and galacsi. :)


As it happens, I do have a sorta paper, already written, and sorta (very sorta!) published. It's in a format very different from that a journal would accept [2], so purely as an exercise in learning how to create an MNRAS-acceptable PDF, I think I'll spend some time converting (and editing!) it. And if I post here, that might be of some interest and assistance to other CQuestians who may be interested in learning 'how to'.

Question: how does CQ feel about this part of the forum being used by a citizen scientist like me to post research ideas/results/PDFs/draft papers?

[2] Actually, I don't know this for sure; however, by appearance alone, I'd say the formats are not only different but likely incompatible in several ways

It's entitled "Curious Pattern in Longo's 2011 Net Handedness Asymmetries (in SDSS Galaxies)"; here's the Explanatory Note at the end of the PDF (see below):


This material was originally published in Zooniverse Letters, on 28 April, 2013 (http://letters.zooniverse.org/letters/50-curious_pattern_in_longo_s_2011_net_handedness_asy mmetries_in_sdss_galaxies); the title is the same ("Curious Pattern in Longo's 2011 Net Handedness Asymmetries (in SDSS Galaxies)"). The Zooniverse Letter contains a transcription error - in Table 1 and Figure 1 - which was corrected in the subsequently modified verson (to accommodate the quirks of that version of Talk; the content is otherwise the same) and published in Galaxy Zoo Talk, on June 29 2013 (http://talk.galaxyzoo.org/#/boards/BGZ0000001/discussions/DGZ00002ru). This version was, in turn, modified so it could be produced as a PDF. It is a Work In Progress; for example, the six tables in Appendix A have yet to be added.

Comments welcome!

So, my first real test; here's that PDF document, as a Dropbox link (https://www.dropbox.com/s/ove8n4y33xtrc2i/LongoL1%28v2%2902.pdf?dl=0).

Clearly, pagination, table formatting, figure formatting, and replacing "text" versions of stuff with (La)TeX versions needs (more) work. Careful proof reading too. Then there's finding out what MNRAS' style guide (etc) is. But, as a first attempt, not as disastrous as I feared ...

Jean Tate
2014-Nov-01, 09:14 PM
Another problem is the level of knowledge and specialization these days. This is not the 1920s! and amateurs can be quickly overwhelmed by how much they don't know (except in the Against the Mainstream forum, haha). Of course, the 1920s didn't have the SDSS Sky Server (http://skyserver.sdss.org/public/en/home.aspx), either. I guess I'm not that interested in just doing science, but rather doing science I'm particularly interested in, which is cosmology - the ultimate in impracticality. :neutral: Maybe I'll just write a book on what we've come to know about our Universe, from an amateur's perspective, for amateurs. Heck, I've read enough of them. :rolleyes:

I knew there was a good thread, here in the CQ forum, that would provide an excellent introduction to a suggestion for you, Cougar, on how you could dive in and do some independent cosmological research. It just took me forever to find it ...

Bias effects in galaxy detection (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?120972-Bias-effects-in-galaxy-detection) is an excellent thread started by ngc3314 :clap: not least because it points to several things you could do - by yourself (with help from fellow CQuestians) - things that are research into an interesting cosmological question.

Using data from various Hubble fields/programs (e.g. COSMOS, GOODS, CANDELS, HDF/UDF), how far away (z) can M31-like galaxies be observed? Giant ellipticals (M87-like, say)? Etc. Where "-like" means with similar surface brightness (pick your waveband). The Disney&Lang paper which ngc3314 cites in the OP of that thread makes a strong case that 'local universe' galaxies will be invisible by z ~ (some modest number, much less than 5, say), and that those detected by Hubble (etc) at z ~ 3 (say) are absent in the local universe.

The independent research you could do would be to test this SPDH of theirs, and to show just how unusual the galaxies we do detect at z >~1 are, compared with galaxies locally, where we're measuring 'like' by surface brightness (and size, obviously).

I'm sure a quick check of the literature will show that there are lots of papers on this, but perhaps none which directly address the evolution of surface brightness (and size)?

And even if this particular question has been answered, does reading the literature trigger related questions, that have yet to be answered, and so possible research projects?

StupendousMan
2014-Nov-01, 11:37 PM
Since you mentioned "bias effects in galaxy detection," I was reminded of a paper in yesterday's astro-ph which introduces a set of galaxies noticed for the first time in the Coma Cluster. The galaxies are roughly the _size_ of the Milky Way, but much, much fainter ... and so nobody noticed them before. Fascinating. See

http://arxiv.org/abs/1410.8141

(Disclaimer: more work needs to be done to confirm the initial estimates of their distances and masses)

Cougar
2014-Nov-02, 02:21 AM
As a test, I loaded the PDF version of a paper which I had downloaded from the MNRAS website to my Dropbox. I clicked, and created a link. Here is that link (https://www.dropbox.com/s/bw38wsl8lmcb60p/MNRAS-2009-Cardamone-1191-205.pdf?dl=0). If you - or any CQuestian reading this - wouldn't mind clicking on it (and downloading the file?), then letting me know what it is, I'd appreciate it.


The abstract's first line: "We investigate a class of rapidly growing emission line galaxies, known as ‘Green Peas’...."



Yes, hitting the link automatically opened up that paper for me. I do have a dropbox account, so I wonder if a non-account holder can access it so freely....

Jean Tate
2014-Nov-02, 12:08 PM
Most of the major astronomy journals require authors to submit their manuscripts in LaTeX format; each journal has its own LaTeX style file, which basically defines a bunch of macros. If you are serious about submitting work to the journals, you'll need to learn how to format your work in this way. There are lots and lots of guides on-line. It's not so bad, actually -- the great majority of the text will just be, well, plain ASCII text, with blank lines between chunks to denote new paragraphs. You might find the method of writing equations a bit painful at first, but most people find that it is more flexible and intuitive than using Word for mathematical typesetting.

Thanks StupendousMan. :)

A relevant MNRAS page (http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/mnras/for_authors/) says this:

2.1 LaTeX
For authors preparing their manuscripts using LaTeX, MNRAS has its own LaTeX class files which simulate the appearance of the journal page. Authors are encouraged to use these, although papers prepared using other class files can also be accepted.

The journal class files and documentation are available at the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN) site (http://www.ctan.org/) in this directory (http://www.tex.ac.uk/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/mnras).

I've started to explore all this (there's a LOT! :(), but something rather basic escapes me so far: if I have a document that has been produced using Open Office's Writer (say) [1], and if I am interested in converting it to a form that's (almost) ready for submission to MNRAS (or arXiv), do I run it through some sort of 'text to latex' converter [2], then edit it further? Or do I rewrite the necessary parts of the file, replacing text with LaTeX (then convert to PDF)?

Take a concrete example (not too contrived, or unrealistic): in the Radio luminosity part of WP's Luminosity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminosity), there's a fairly straight-forward equation that would be a nightmare to try to write, using even Writer (let alone plain ASCII). It's not that hard to write in LaTeX [3]:

L_\nu = \frac{S_{obs}4\pi D_L^2}{(1+z)^{1+\alpha}}

L_\nu = \frac{S_{obs}4\pi D_L^2}{(1+z)^{1+\alpha}}

Answers? Suggestions?

[1] such a document is, as you say, mostly just ASCII text, such as can be produced using very simple text editors
[2] there are at least a couple of such, for Open Office Writer; lots more, no doubt, for general text+ files
[3] I'm not trying to be 100% correct here, just illustrating how fairly easy it is (what I posted surely needs some polishing)

Jean Tate
2014-Nov-02, 11:09 PM
Thanks StupendousMan. :)

A relevant MNRAS page (http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/mnras/for_authors/) says this:


I've started to explore all this (there's a LOT! :(), but something rather basic escapes me so far: if I have a document that has been produced using Open Office's Writer (say) [1], and if I am interested in converting it to a form that's (almost) ready for submission to MNRAS (or arXiv), do I run it through some sort of 'text to latex' converter [2], then edit it further? Or do I rewrite the necessary parts of the file, replacing text with LaTeX (then convert to PDF)?

Take a concrete example (not too contrived, or unrealistic): in the Radio luminosity part of WP's Luminosity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminosity), there's a fairly straight-forward equation that would be a nightmare to try to write, using even Writer (let alone plain ASCII). It's not that hard to write in LaTeX [3]:

L_\nu = \frac{S_{obs}4\pi D_L^2}{(1+z)^{1+\alpha}}

L_\nu = \frac{S_{obs}4\pi D_L^2}{(1+z)^{1+\alpha}}

Answers? Suggestions?

[1] such a document is, as you say, mostly just ASCII text, such as can be produced using very simple text editors
[2] there are at least a couple of such, for Open Office Writer; lots more, no doubt, for general text+ files
[3] I'm not trying to be 100% correct here, just illustrating how fairly easy it is (what I posted surely needs some polishing)

OK, scratch that; I worked it out by myself (I think), more or less (see below).



The abstract's first line: "We investigate a class of rapidly growing emission line galaxies, known as ‘Green Peas’...."



Yes, hitting the link automatically opened up that paper for me.

Thanks Cougar; that's an independent confirmation that it works (see galacsi's post (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?154057-Fascinating-Research-Ideas-For-Citizen-Scientists&p=2251769#post2251769)).


I do have a dropbox account, so I wonder if a non-account holder can access it so freely....

While I can't be 100% sure, I think that works; I was able to download from someone else's Dropbox some time ago, well before I got my own Dropbox account.

Would you - or any other CQuestian reading this - mind clicking on this link (https://www.dropbox.com/s/732fbhrvxr7d58r/LongoL1_v3a.pdf?dl=0)? It's the same base document as I described in this post (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php?154057-Fascinating-Research-Ideas-For-Citizen-Scientists&p=2252157#post2252157) upthread, but this time I produced it - as a PDF - using a (La)TeX editor. As with the previous document, there's still quite a lot of work to do, to make it reasonably well formatted/laid out/etc (and yes, I have to add the tables in Appendix A). Nonetheless, it shows - I hope! - that I've got some sort of basic ability to produce a passably OK LaTeX->PDF document, which shouldn't need too much more work to put it into a form acceptable to MNRAS (the content? well, that's a completely different story!)

Feedback most welcome! :D

tusenfem
2014-Nov-03, 01:35 PM
Just on the LaTeX thingy.



The easiest way, IMHO, is to download MikTex (I have version 2.9) from some of the mirrors on http://miktex.org/
Then I would advise to get WinShell (http://www.winshell.de/download.html) which is a perfect LaTeX editor/compilor, which will generate a pdf at a mouseclick.
Get the style files from e.g. MNRAS and do not forget the sample.tex or whatever it is called, which is an example paper which shows you all the necessary input, and which will have switch at the top to generate journal-format or referee-format output.

Cougar
2014-Nov-03, 02:11 PM
Would you - or any other CQuestian reading this - mind clicking on this link (https://www.dropbox.com/s/732fbhrvxr7d58r/LongoL1_v3a.pdf?dl=0)?

Seems to be all right. It does not copy and paste well at all, though. The graphs and tables were there. After a quick skim, the only possible forfmatting anomaly I saw was on page 2:


Each scanner had only three choices, for each galaxy,"L" (Left \equiv circlearrowright)....



Was "circlearrowright" meant to be translated into a symbol?

There are a few different alternatives when converting to pdf. IIRC, pdf/a does not carry along the font/symbol set with the document, so that should not typically be used. I forget the terminology, but one usually wants the choice "for viewing and printing" or something like that.... (Sorry if this is a simplistic version. Tusenfem's explanation is apparently at the level you want.)

Jean Tate
2014-Nov-03, 05:13 PM
Thank you tusenfem, Cougar! :)

The program I used is Texmaker (http://www.xm1math.net/texmaker/) (I had downloaded it some time ago, for a quite different purpose); I also spent a lot of time reading the Wikibook LATEX (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX). And towards the end, I went looking for answers to specific questions which neither seemed to be able to answer [1]

I used the 'convert to PDF' (not its name, but function) feature that's part of Texmaker; I've no idea how trying to convert my .tex file to PDF with a different program would work [2]

What I'm trying to do is to work out what's needed to produce 'submittable to MNRAS' documents. With that understanding, I can decide how to go about writing up any research results I want, with a view to minimizing any extra work I'd need to do if I ever decided to submit to MNRAS. Of course, it's almost certain that I'll have to make some trade-off decisions; some things needed for MNRAS-submittable will surely be too onerous for general results write-ups, for example.

(Of course, there's still quite a bit of work ahead of me, with this paper, to iron out all the bugs; placement of Tables and Figures being an obvious one)

But at least I now know that I *can* produce sorta-OK-with-MNRAS-like documents :D

And somewhat to my surprise, I taught myself how to do this in ~a day (elapsed time). So, for any other CQUestian thinking about writing papers based on their own research, from my personal experience I can say that it's not all that hard!! :p

Which, in turn, is due to the help and support of CQuestians such as Cougar, galacsi, KlausH, StupendousMan, and tusenfem. Thanks guys. :clap:

[1] "circlearrowright", and its symmetry partner, is one of those. The symbols I want to use - and which I did manage to find, and use, for the Zooniverse Letters version - aren't hard to describe; however, they're fairly difficult to find, and I could not (yesterday) find a way to make them appear in the PDF.
[2] for example, a bunch of extra files are created; I do not know how many of these are important, or even what they do (but I intend to find out)

Jean Tate
2014-Dec-23, 03:16 AM
This (https://www.dropbox.com/s/mxnfb2i2y0bhzpt/LongoL1_v4a.pdf?dl=0), I hope, is an 'MNRAS-compliant' version of what I posted earlier.

And I've managed to address several - nay, many - of the bitty problems I had earlier.


Thank you tusenfem, Cougar! :)

The program I used is Texmaker (http://www.xm1math.net/texmaker/) (I had downloaded it some time ago, for a quite different purpose); I also spent a lot of time reading the Wikibook LATEX (http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX). And towards the end, I went looking for answers to specific questions which neither seemed to be able to answer [1]

I used the 'convert to PDF' (not its name, but function) feature that's part of Texmaker; I've no idea how trying to convert my .tex file to PDF with a different program would work [2]
I still don't know, but as I can create an 'MNRAS-ready' .tex as well as a .pdf, I no longer care.


What I'm trying to do is to work out what's needed to produce 'submittable to MNRAS' documents. With that understanding, I can decide how to go about writing up any research results I want, with a view to minimizing any extra work I'd need to do if I ever decided to submit to MNRAS. Of course, it's almost certain that I'll have to make some trade-off decisions; some things needed for MNRAS-submittable will surely be too onerous for general results write-ups, for example.

(Of course, there's still quite a bit of work ahead of me, with this paper, to iron out all the bugs; placement of Tables and Figures being an obvious one)

But at least I now know that I *can* produce sorta-OK-with-MNRAS-like documents :D
Well, there are still quite a few rough edges, but I hope they won't be too hard to smooth. I've also got some questions, and if any CQuestian reading this could help ... (later)



And somewhat to my surprise, I taught myself how to do this in ~a day (elapsed time). So, for any other CQUestian thinking about writing papers based on their own research, from my personal experience I can say that it's not all that hard!! :p
Elapsed time to get this far was, obviously, considerably more than a day; however, additional effort was ~two days. Frustrating and tedious ... lots of apparently tiny things can cause grief; lots of apparently simple questions have surprisingly complicated answers; ...


Which, in turn, is due to the help and support of CQuestians such as Cougar, galacsi, KlausH, StupendousMan, and tusenfem. Thanks guys. :clap:

[1] "circlearrowright", and its symmetry partner, is one of those. The symbols I want to use - and which I did manage to find, and use, for the Zooniverse Letters version - aren't hard to describe; however, they're fairly difficult to find, and I could not (yesterday) find a way to make them appear in the PDF.
I found a work-around, using the MnSymbol package.


[2] for example, a bunch of extra files are created; I do not know how many of these are important, or even what they do (but I intend to find out)
I still don't know; but I also don't care.

What's still to be done/resolved?

* how to get an ordinary tilde, like ~100,000
* bibliography/references/etc; MNRAS' documentclass seems to be happy with the usenatbib package ... but how does that work?
* aligning numbers (integers, decimals) within Tables
* adding a Note at the bottom of a Table, to explain the columns
* how to fix 'bad page break', e.g. in Section 4
* Texmaker tells me I have a lot of 'badnesses' (!), but the PDF looks quite OK; how to deal with this?
* MNRAS-ready is all well and good, but if I don't end up submitting to MNRAS, they don't have copyright over my document, do they? So how do I tweak nm2e.cls to remove it (etc)?

Comments, suggestions, etc welcome!

All in all, a nice Christmas present for myself.

StupendousMan
2014-Dec-23, 02:36 PM
* how to get an ordinary tilde, like ~100,000
* bibliography/references/etc; MNRAS' documentclass seems to be happy with the usenatbib package ... but how does that work?
* aligning numbers (integers, decimals) within Tables
* adding a Note at the bottom of a Table, to explain the columns
* how to fix 'bad page break', e.g. in Section 4
* Texmaker tells me I have a lot of 'badnesses' (!), but the PDF looks quite OK; how to deal with this?
* MNRAS-ready is all well and good, but if I don't end up submitting to MNRAS, they don't have copyright over my document, do they? So how do I tweak nm2e.cls to remove it (etc)?


To get a tilde next to some number, as in your example, try using math mode and \sim, like this:

$\sim 1000$

How to use usenatbib? The general idea is this: you create a file which contains the bibliographic information for the papers you will reference - one way to do it is to use the ADS system to look up each paper, then click the "Bibtex entry for this abstract" button to generate the information, and save it in a file. Put all this information into a file on disk (not the same file as your manuscript). Then, you run a program (probably part of the TeXmaker package) which goes through your manuscript, finds the references in your text, looks for matching references in the other file, and inserts the proper codes into the output file.

You could always use Google to ask "how to use usenatbib?"

Aligning numbers in tables is a pain in the neck. You can try using the "dcolumn" package. I always end up using \phantom to insert little bits of invisible spacing to get everything to line up properly.

A note at the bottom of the table? If you are using the "deluxetable" mechanism, use \tablenotemark to make a little symbol in superscript, then \tablenotetext at the end of the table in order to place the explanation. Here's an example:




\begin{center}
\begin{deluxetable}{l r r}
\tablecaption{Absolute magnitudes at maximum light, corrected for extinction \label{tab:absmax} }
\tablehead{
\colhead{Passband} &
\colhead{observed mag\tablenotemark{a} } &
\colhead{based on $\Delta m_{15}$ \tablenotemark{b} }
}

\startdata
\\

B & $-19.21 \pm 0.15$ & $-19.25 \pm 0.03$ \\
V & $-19.19 \pm 0.15$ & $-19.18 \pm 0.03$ \\
R & $-19.18 \pm 0.15$ & $-19.19 \pm 0.04$ \\
I & $-18.94 \pm 0.15$ & $-18.92 \pm 0.03$ \\
I (sec) & $-18.49 \pm 0.15$ & \nodata \\

\enddata
\tablenotetext{a}{based on $(m - M)_{\rm M101} = 29.10 \pm 0.15 $ mag}
\tablenotetext{b}{using the relationship from \citet{Prie2006} }
\end{deluxetable}
\end{center}



You can see what it looks like by going to

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012JAVSO..40..872R

and examining Table 6.

I'd ignore complaints about "badnesses," as the journal copy editors will probably make small modifications of their own which will modify the badnesses, and get rid of the effects if they care.

The copyright isn't assigned by the text in the PDF. If the editors accept your paper, they will send you a letter in which you formally agree to assign copyright to the journal, with a place for your signature. I'd just ignore the copyright statement in this draft.

Jean Tate
2014-Dec-24, 08:20 PM
Thanks StupendousMan! :clap:

The whole bibliography/references thing is a big topic, which I need to sit down and work through ... but in the new year.

And the numbers alignment within Tables too, though it looks more like tedium and 'attention to detail' on steroids than lots of new concepts. Likewise something to look forward to for 2105.

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year! :)