UMD Undergraduate Research Journal

Volume 3, Issue 1

Observations of Transiting Exoplanets with Differential Photometry

Brett Morris
Preliminary observations and computational methods for analysis are presented for observing celestial objects with time-varying intensity, in particular transiting exoplanets. Transits occur when a planet orbiting a star other than the sun (an exoplanet) passes between the Earth and the host star, slightly dimming the apparent intensity of the star. CCD images of the host star of one such exoplanet, HD 189733b, are recorded during predicted transits at the University of Maryland Observatory (UMO) on a small (152 mm) refracting telescope. Differential photometry algorithms compare the relative brightness of the host star [...]

Software Applications for the Integration of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles within the Smart Grid

Shruti Ramaswamy and Dr. Alireza Khaligh
Smart Grid is a new solution to the aging power grid. It is a budding web of controls, automation and intelligent technologies that work together to make the grid greener, secure and reliable. Its innovative dual-direction communication between the grid and the user establishes a system of regular updates to a home that details energy consumption on a real time basis. With an increasing Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) market, consumers have another avenue for involvement with the grid. PHEV charging is a heavy load added to a home. [...]

Volume 2, Issue 2

Mobile phones as a medical diagnostic platform with a focus on low-power AM modulation

Andrew J. Dupree, Jeremy Rahe, and Eric Brewer
In the developing world, many people die every day due to lack of access to basic medical measurements such as blood pressure and corresponding diagnoses. In order to combat this, a medical diagnostic platform is being designed which will use low-cost sensors and utilize the proliferation of mobile phones in emerging regions for computational power. A chief design difficulty in this project has been the implementation of amplitude modulation (necessary to transmit DC information to the mobile phone) on the 3.2V provided by the phone battery. [...]

Volume 2, Issue 1

Crater retention ages inside and outside the proposed dichotomy-forming borealis(mega-)basin

Lauren N. Woolsey and Dr. Herbert V. Frey, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Using populations of both visible and buried impact basins gives a more accurate crater retention age for any terrestrial planetary surface. On Mars, buried impact basins are found both in topography from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA), as Quasi-Circular Depressions (QCDs), and in crustal thickness models, we see them as Circular Thin Areas (CTAs). These features should be added to visible crater counts to derive the best crater retention age for the crust. The crustal dichotomy on Mars separates the smooth northern lowlands from the heavily-cratered southern highlands, and the proposed Borealis impact [...]

Terramechanics: testing wheel designs for planetary surfaces

Kailyn Cage, Dr. Mary Bowden and Dr. David Akin, Department of Aerospace Engineering
To better understand the surfaces, atmospheres, and geographic properties of planets in the solar system, planetary rovers were invented. On sandy, rocky terrain planetary rovers have engaged in loss of traction and wheel slippage. In order to investigate wheel-surface interaction, an automated test simulation system was designed and built in the University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory. Using this system, experiments that calculated that the draw-bar pull at varying weights were conducted. [...]

Volume 1, Issue 1

Magnet apparatus for X-ray magnetic linear dichroism measurements: design and characterization

Yoav Achiam and Kristine Rosjford, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Presented within is the design and characterization of a magnet structure critical for direct, at-wavelength X-ray magnetic linear dichroism (XMLD) measurements. To achieve these XMLD measurements utilizing an existing experimental setup, the magnet structure must yield a minimum magnetic field while fitting within limited spatial constraints. We present the basis for the spatial and field requirement for the structure, the core material utilized to achieve the desired specifications, and the process performed to arrive at the final magnetic structure. Experiments were performed to characterize the heat dissipation versus time as well as the field strength versus input current of the magnet structure. [...]