#hackAAS at #aas229

Today was the (fifth, maybe?) AAS Hack Day; it was also the fifth day of #aas229. As always, I had a great time and great things happened. I won't use this post to list everything from the wrap-up session, but here are some personal, biased highlights:

Inclusive astronomy database
Hlozek, Gidders, Bridge, and Law worked together to create a database and web front-end for resources that astronomers can read (or use) about inclusion and astronomy, inspired in part by things said earlier at #aas229 about race and astronomy. Their system is just a prototype, but it has a few things in it and it is designed to help you find resources but also add resources.
Policy letter help tool
Brett Morris led a hack that created a web interface into which you can input a letter you would like to write to your representative about an issue. It searches for words that are bad to use in policy discussions and asks you to change them, and also gives you the names and addresses of the people to whom you should send it! It was just a prototype, because it turns out there is no way right now to automatically obtain representative names and contact information. That was a frustrating finding about the state of #opengov.
Budget planetarium how-to
Ellie Schwab and a substantial crew got together a budget and resources for building a low-buck but fully functional planetarium. One component was WWT, which is now open source.
Differential equations
Horvat and Galvez worked on solving differential equations using basis functions, to learn (and re-learn) methods that might be applicable to new kinds of models of stars. They built some notebooks that demonstrate that you can easily solve differential equations very accurately with basis functions, but that if you choose a bad basis, you get bad answers!
K2 and the sky
Stephanie Douglas made an interface to the K2 data that show a postage stamp from the data, the light curve, and then aligned (overlaid, even) imaging from other imaging surveys. This involved figuring out some stuff about K2's world coordinate systems, and making it work for the world.
Poster clothing
Once again, the sewing machines were out! I actually own one of these now, just for hack day. Pagnotta led a very successful sewing and knitting crew. Six of the team used a sewing machine for the first time today! In case you are still stuck in 2013: The material for sewing is the posters, which all the cool kids have printed on fabric, not paper these days!
Erik Tollerud built some tools for the long-term storage and archiving of #hackAAS hacks. These leverage GitHub under the hood.

There were many other hacks, including people learning how to use testing and integration tools, people learning to use the ADS API, people learning how to use version control and GitHub, testing of different kinds of photometry, and visualization of various kinds of data. It was a great day, and I can't wait for next year.

Huge thanks to our corporate sponsor, Northrop Grumman, and my co-organizers Kelle Cruz, Meg Schwamb, and Abigail Stevens. NG provided great food, and Schwamb did a great job helping everyone in the room understand the (constructive, open, friendly, fun) point of the day.

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