News from the Department (2013)

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December 2013

  • Students in ASTR 315, a course for non-majors, played a leading role in determining that asteroid 3905 Doppler is a 'binary asteroid'! The students observed 3905 Doppler and two other asteroids using a telescope in Spain that they controlled from UMD via the internet. ASTR 315 (Astronomy in Practice) is a new course designed and taught by Dr. Melissa Hayes-Gehrke. The asteroids' light curves and rotation periods will be presented at the January meeting of the American Astronomical Society, and the 3905 Doppler results have been announced in an International Astronomical Union 'telegram' (CBET 3755).

  • Prof. Michael Boylan-Kolchin co-authored a paper that appears on Discover Magazine's "100 top stories of 2013." The story, which comes in at #90 on the list, involves the discovery of Segue 2, the smallest known galaxy. In comparison, it is 10 million times smaller than our Milky Way.

  • Prof. Drake Deming continues to make exciting new discoveries in characterizing exoplanets! In leading a census of exoplanet atmospheres, he has found traces of water in the atmospheres of 5 hot Jupiter-like planets. Although water has been found on exoplanets before, the Deming census is the first to characterize the atmospheres of many planets at once. For more information, check out CMNS press release or the Hubble website HUBBLE TRACES SUBTLE SIGNALS OF WATER ON HAZY WORLDS.

  • Grad student Alice Olmstead had her poster on Astrobites featured in the Autumn 2013 edition of Mercury magazine. Alice presented an overview of Astrobites, which is a blog for undergrads which summarizes the latest astronomical research and also provides career guidance.

  • Dr. Dale Fixsen has been awarded NASA/Goddard's Robert H. Goddard Honor Award for individual outstanding scientific achievement. The award recognizes his many accomplishments over the years as a member of Goddard's Observational Cosmology group. CRESST/UMD and the Department of Astronomy also successfully nominated him for a $500 cash prize from the University of Maryland to accompany the NASA award. Congratulations, Dale!

November 2013

  • Alumnus Matthew Knight (Ph.D. '08) was featured in a NASA Science News article about comet ISON. In this article he explores three different possibilities as to what will happen when ISON passes through the inner solar system on Thanksgiving Day.

  • Dr. Francesco Tombesi received the 2013 Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation (ISSNAF) Award Special Mention. The Ceremony was held at the Embassy of Italy on October 29th. Dr. Tombesi gave a short presentation on his research, which includes high energy astrophysics.

  • A Joint Space Science Center (JSI) mini-symposium will be held in CSS 2400 on Nov. 15, bringing together researchers from the Departments of Astronomy and Physics and from Goddard. The symposium is titled "JSI Scientists Jamboree". The speakers will include Zach Etienne, Bernard Kelly, Simin Mahmoodifar, Sylvain Marsat, Marc Swisdak, Abdu Zoghbi, & Roman Shcherbakov. For more information, see the above link.

  • Prof. Drake Deming has published an article in Nature's "News & Views" section discussing the implications of Earthlike planet, Kepler-78b. This was picked up by major news papers such as the NY Times and the Baltimore Sun. He is quoted in the NY Times article as saying, "It's the first really well measured Earthlike composition for a rocky extrasolar planet." This finding is also a good sign that Earthlike planets are not rare.

  • Dr. Ed Shaya and Alumnus Brent Tully (Ph.D. '72) are co-authors of the journal article The formation of Local Group planes of galaxies that explains why the planes of galaxies in the Local Group do not disprove the standard cosmological theory of galaxy formation. The authors projected the galaxies' orbits backwards in time to explain how they might have ended up in planes, which helps to resolve some of the potential concerns with the standard theory. See also the Nature "News & Views" write-up on their work by Alan McConnachie.

October 2013

  • Dr. Surja Sharma has been selected to deliver the Prof. K. R. Ramanathan Memorial Lecture-2013 during the 50th annual convention of IGU. Instituted in 1993, the IGU (Indian Geophysical Union) invites eminent earth/atmospheric scientists to deliver a special lecture on a topic of current scientific interest. The invited scientist is presented with a gold metal and a citation.

  • Dr. Dennis Bodewits and alumni Matthew Knight (Ph.D. '08) and Kevin Walsh (Ph.D. '06) were all quoted in a Nature "Breaking News" article on comet ISON. The article described simulations by Drs. Knight and Walsh which indicate that the comet is unlikely to be vaporized by its close passage to the Sun in late November, although it might still be tidally disrupted and torn into pieces. Astronomers are optimistic that the comet will survive and become a terrific naked-eye object in the December morning sky.

  • Alumna Fabienne Bastien (B.S. '05) has published an article in Nature on her work, in which she uses archival Kepler data to find correlations between variations in the brightness of stars (due to granulation on their surfaces) and their surface gravity. This can greatly improve astronomers' accuracy in determining stars' sizes and ages. Ms. Bastien is completing a Ph.D. in the well-known Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program, which is designed to support underrepresented minorities whose goal is to achieve a doctoral science degree.

September 2013

  • Elaine Hunt, a former student in Dr. Melissa Hayes-Gehrke's ASTR 100 class, has started a blog called "Astronomically Speaking" in the UMD Diamondback newspaper. Topics so far have included comet ISON, manned spaceflight to Mars, and the McKeldin sundial. Keep up the good work, Elaine!

  • On Sept. 20, 2013, NASA declared the end of operations for the Deep Impact spacecraft after attempts to regain contact with it failed. This hugely successful, UMD-led mission operated for over 8 years and revolutionized our understanding of comets through its studies of comet Tempel 1, comet Hartley 2, and comet Garradd. Distinguished University Prof. Emeritus Mike A'Hearn served as Primary Investigator for the mission, and many other UMD scientists and students contributed to it. For more information, see the CMNS article or the media coverage by the Washington Post, CNN, and many others.

  • Iceland National TV did a special on grad student Kari Helgason for their series on a day-in-a-life of young people from Iceland with interesting careers. The TV show is available online through mid-Oct., though unfortunately it is in Icelandic!

  • Grad student Ron Ballouz has received both a Goldhaber Travel Grant from the UMD Graduate School and a travel grant from the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS). These will enable him to attend the OSIRIS-REx science team meeting in New York. Congratulations, Ron!

  • The Joint Space Science Institute (JSI) - consisting of astrophysicists and physicists from the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center - is hosting a workshop on "Putting Accretion Theory to the Test" on November 4-6, 2013, in historic Annapolis, Maryland. The meeting will address the physics of accretion disks in the full range of astrophysical settings.

  • While at UMD, alumnus Brett Morris (B.S. '12) did a research project with Prof. L. Drake Deming and Observatory Coordinator Elizabeth Warner on detecting planets around other stars using the UMD Observatory. Brett developed his own computer code named OSCAAR to assist with this work, and that code has now been refined and made publicly available for others to use. See the NASA press release >NASA-funded Program Helps Amateur Astronomers Detect Alien Worlds for more info. Congratulations, Brett!

August 2013

  • Intern Mark Moretto received the National Young Astronomer Award from the Astronomical League. The award recognizes "the outstanding astronomical research achievements of high-school-age students throughout the United States." Mark received it for his work with Prof. Mike A'Hearn and Dr. Lori Feaga on a project titled "Deep Impact Spectral Observations of Naturally Occurring Mini-Outbursts." He is a student at Briarcliff High School in New York and is entering UMD this fall!

July 2013

  • Prof. Lee Mundy received a plaque from the CARMA staff and Science Steering Committee during the 3rd CARMA Science Symposium at the University of Chicago, thanking him for his "committed service as CARMA director, 2007-2013". CARMA (Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy) is a world-class interferometer in California consisting of six 10.4-meter, nine 6.1-meter, and eight 3.5-meter antennas, and Prof. Mundy has managed the partnership of five universities which fund and operate the observatory. Congratulations on this honor, Lee!

  • Prof. Alberto Bolatto's recent ALMA result on the starburst galaxy NGC 253 is on the cover of Nature and the subject of a Nature News & Views! They were able to measure the molecular mass outflow rate, show that the starburst wind is limiting the star formation rate and stellar mass of the galaxy, and demonstrate the important role of starbursts in limiting the growth of massive galaxies. Find more information see theScience Daily, and the Christian Science Monitor articles. Dr. Steve Warren, Prof. Sylvain Veilleux, and Dr. David Fisher are also involved. Congratulations all!

  • Prof. Sylvain Veilleux led a successful effort to obtain a $1 million grant from the Keck Foundation for the development of the world's first fully integrated photonic spectrograph. The infrared "Keck Photonic Spectrometer" will have five times the sensitivity of current instruments and will enable researchers to expand our understanding of galaxy evolution in the early universe. Other UMD Astronomy team members include Prof. Stuart Vogel, Prof. Andy Harris, and Adjunct Prof. Neil Gehrels. CMNS press release.

  • Alumnus Don Yeomans (Ph.D. '70), Manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, has received the 2013 Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Public Communication in Planetary Science from the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Science. Dr. Yeomans has written numerous popular articles and books about asteroids, comets, and near-earth objects. For more information, see the NASA press release Asteroid Expert Receives Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication.

  • The Department's Small Bodies Group participated in new Hubble observations of Comet ISON that show a beautiful tail of dust particles extending backward from the comet's nucleus. Drs. Tony Farnham and Mike Kelley and Prof. Mike A'Hearn represented UMD in the science team for the observations. For more information and images, see the CMNS news article.

  • Dr. Mike Boylan-Kolchin has joined the Department of Astronomy as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Boylan-Kolchin is a computational theoretical astrophysicist working on problems at the interface of galaxy formation and cosmology, including the nature of dark matter. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and was most recently a Center for Galaxy Evolution Fellow at UC Irvine. We're very glad to welcome him to the department!

  • Alum Paul Butler (Ph.D. '93) was a member of a team which included astronomers from the European Southern Observatory, who combined new observations of Gliese 667C with existing data from HARPS at ESO's 3.6-metre telescope in Chile, revealing a system with at least six planets. Three of these planets are in the "habitable zone" around the star where liquid water could exist, making them possible candidates for the presence of life. Media coverage was widespread; for examples, see BBC News and Universe Today.

June 2013

  • Rodrigo Herrera-Camus and other department grad students have organized the DC/MD/VA Astrophysics Summer Meeting for Graduate Students, a new meeting "for astronomers in the DC/MD/VA area, especially graduate students, to present their work and facilitate networking and interaction between the institutions." The meeting takes place on June 28 at the University of Maryland and has 67 registrants, 15 talks, and 24 posters on display!

  • Prof. Chris Reynolds received an award in Taiwan that recognizes young scholars who have contributed to the field of astronomy or astrophysics. The Young Astronomer Lectureship Award is jointly presented by National Central University and the Taiwan-based Delta Electronics Foundation. In association with the award, Chris gave a talk on black holes at National Central University on June 14 and another at National Taichung First Senior High School on June 15.

May 2013

  • Research Prof. Neal Miller co-authored a paper in the "Astrophysical Journal" (Oct. 2012) that has been receiving media attention recently. Using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) the researchers, for the first time, identified discrete sources that account for nearly all the radio waves coming from distant galaxies. Media coverage includes Astronomy Magazine (May 1), PhysOrg, and ScienceDaily.

  • Prof. Andy Harris is a significant co-author on a paper that was featured in a joint NASA/ESA/Keck/UC Irvine press release Herschel Space Observatory Finds Galaxy Mega Merger. The paper describes multi-wavelength high-resolution observations of a rare merger of two massive submillimeter bright galaxies at z = 2.3. The researchers concluded that gas-rich major galaxy mergers with intense star formation can form the most massive elliptical galaxies by z ~ 1.5. The merger was flagged for further investigation by a previous set of observations at Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, which were made using the Zpectrometer instrument that Prof. Harris designed and constructed.

  • A Joint Space Science Center (JSI) mini-symposium will be held at NASA/Goddard on May 30, bringing together researchers from the Departments of Astronomy and Physics and from Goddard. The theme will be Multi-Messenger Time Domain Astronomy, and speakers will include Jidith Racusin, Imre Bartos, Sean Cutchin, Erik Blaufuss, Brad Cenko, and Suvi Gezari. Please note that NASA/Goddard is a secured facility, and you will require a badge to gain entry to the campus. For more information, see the above link.

  • Observatory Coordinator Elizabeth Warner was interviewed by WUSA9, May 11, on a 'ring of fire' or 'annular' solar eclipse event in Australia. "The moon in its orbit is sometimes closer and sometimes further away from the Earth. This time, the moon was further away, and looked smaller than the sun. And it didn't completely block the sun's disk." See the news WUSA9article.

  • Graduate student Che-Yu Chen has won a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF). This supports her thesis work with Prof. Eve Ostriker on "Ambipolar Diffusion and Turbulence in the Formation and Evolution of Rotating Prestellar Cores". The award is for two years and has a value of up to $30,000. Che-Yu's application was one of only nine accepted in the Astrophysics division, so this is quite an achievement!

  • Dr. Ed Shaya and Adjunct Professor Stacy McGaugh are co-authors on a Nature article that describes radio observations which expand our understanding of seven large clouds of hydrogen gas between our neighboring Andromeda and Triangulum Galaxies. The distribution of the clouds suggests that they are condensing from a diffuse filament of material held together by dark matter. The story was described in an NRAO press release Astronomers Discover Surprising Clutch of Hydrogen Clouds Lurking among Our Galactic Neighbors and has been picked up in various media outlets, including, and Science Daily.

  • Alice Olmstead and other graduate students have organized the Astronomy Gentleladies Network (AGN), a mentoring program focused on improving the experience for women in astronomy in our department through regular discussions and establishing strong undergraduate-to-graduate relationships. Meetings are typically over coffee, lunch, or dinner on the first Tuesday of each month.

  • Ms. Dorinda Kimbrell has joined the department as our new Director of Administrative Services, which supervises the business office. Many of us remember her from six years ago, when she was a Business Manager here. She moved to IPST in 2007 as Research Coordinator and was promoted a year later to Assistant Director of Administration, with responsibility for all grant administration in IPST. In 2009, she was appointed as Director of Administrative Services in the Department of Economics. She fills the position vacated by Jeff Snider, who after five years of excellent service to our department has become the new Director of Operations in the Division of Research. Welcome, Dorinda!

April 2013

  • Prof. Derek Richardson has been selected as an IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol in England. Richardson will visit for one month in the fall with his former graduate student, Zoe Leinhardt (Ph.D. '05), who is an STFC Advanced Research Fellow there. Richardson will present both a general colloquium and a more technical research seminar.

  • Undergraduate Phil Cowperthwaite has won this year's J.R. Dorfman Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Research for his work with Prof. Chris Reynolds on "The Central Engine Structure of 3C120: Evidence for a Retrograde Black Hole or a Refilling Accretion Disk". This $1000 prize is awarded annually for the best research project conducted by a current undergraduate within the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. Congratulations, Phil!

  • A record-breaking 105,000 visitors visited the university campus for Maryland Day on a gorgeous day on Apr. 27. The department entertained and informed visitors with a variety of solar telescopes and our "Fingerprinting the Universe" and "Ask an Astronomer" booths. The AstroTerps student club gave an excellent presentation on astronomical citizen science. Thanks so much to all our volunteers (too many to name here, alas!), especially Elizabeth Warner for her hard work in coordinating the department's participation.

  • Alumnus Don Yeomans (Ph.D. '70) has been named to the 2013 Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world for his work in hunting potentially dangerous asteroids as manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office. Congratulations, Don!

  • The Department's Small Bodies Group participated in new Hubble observations of Comet ISON that show a beautiful tail of dust particles extending backward from the comet's nucleus. Drs. Tony Farnham and Mike Kelley and Prof. Mike A'Hearn represented UMD in the science team for the observations. For more information and images, see the CMNS news article.

  • Graduate student Kari Helgason was interviewed by Iceland National TV at the UMD observatory for a special on the "day-in-a-life" of young people from Iceland with interesting careers. The show will air this fall, although unfortunately not in English!

  • For the first time ever, four Astronomy undergraduates will be graduating with High Honors! Honors candidates are accepted into the Honors Program on the basis of recommendations from faculty and work with a faculty advisor on a research project. They submit a written report on their project and undergo an oral comprehensive examination; successful candidates graduate "with Honors (or High Honors) in Astronomy." The students' names (and those of their faculty mentors) are Lauren Bittle (Lee Mundy), Phil Cowperthwaite (Chris Reynolds), Harley Katz (Massimo Ricotti), and Nolan Matthews (Drake Deming). Congratulations!

  • Jennifer Binckes Lee's poem, titled "ASTR410 Radio Astronomy: Midterm Exam", won Honorable Mention in the 2013 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Competition! Ms. Lee is the daughter of Jeff Binckes, a student in the Spring 2012 offering of ASTR410 taught by Dr. Neal Miller. You can read the poem here; it has also been published in a collection of festival competition winners titled Fifth Annual Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival. Congratulations, Jenny!

  • Prof. Suvi Gezari's article, "When Black Holes Eat Stars," will be featured on the front cover of the June issue of "Sky and Telescope". Prof. Gezari is an expert in time-domain astronomy, a field which focuses on relatively brief events such as flares from the tidal disruption of stars by supermassive black holes. Congratulations, Suvi!

  • Members of the AstroTerps undergraduate astronomy club have been busy with major outreach events! On Feb. 14, they set up solar telescopes at Eleanor Roosevelt High School for over 50 students to observe sunspots and solar flares. On Feb. 23, they hosted a star party of 70 students from Brandywine Elementary School, showing them the Moon, Jupiter, and online citizen science opportunities. Keep up the good work!

  • Grad students Jessica Donaldson, Dheeraj Pasham, Che-Yu Chen, and Taro Shimizu were all successful in winning highly competitive fellowships from the Graduate School. Jessica was awarded a Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship, which provides full support for a year for outstanding doctoral students. Dheeraj and Che-Yu were awarded Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowships, which provide full support for a semester for outstanding students who are in the final stages of writing their dissertation. Taro was awarded a Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship, which provides support to outstanding doctoral students at "mid-career" to prepare for or complete a key benchmark in their program's requirements. Congratulations, Jessica, Dheeraj, Che-Yu, and Taro!

  • Dr. Christopher Hamilton led work which identified surprising results in the locations of Jupiter's moon Io's volcanoes. The volcanoes' locations do not correspond to the predictions made by models, which are based on tidal heating of the moon's interior by Jupiter's intense gravitational pull. One proposed explanation is that Io may have a global subsurface magma ocean. The story received extensive media coverage; for more information, see the articles in, Science World Report, and Huffington Post.

  • Undergraduate seniors Phil Cowperthwaite and Harley Katz have received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. These prestigious awards support three years of graduate study with a stipend of $32k and full tuition remission. Phil will be attending Harvard next year, and Harley will be attending Cambridge(?). Alumna Lauren Woolsey (B.S. '11) also received an NSF fellowship which will support her ongoing studies at Harvard. Congratulations, Phil, Harley, and Lauren!

March 2013

  • Prof. Doug Hamilton and his former grad student Daniel Jontoff-Hutter (Ph.D. '12) are quoted in a feature article of the May 2013 issue of "Sky and Telescope" titled "Saturn's Amazing Rings". The two discuss the spokes in Saturn's rings and Saturn's giant Phoebe ring.

  • Dr. Dennis Bodewits is the lead investigator of a team which has been studying Comet ISON in close detail with NASA's Swift satellite. Comet ISON has the potential to be a spectacularly visible comet, a 'Comet of the Century', in late 2013. As ISON approaches the Sun, UMD and Lowell Observatory astronomers have been observing its changes and have derived estimates of the comet's dust emission (c. 112,000 pounds per minute), water emission (c. 130 pounds per minute), and the size of its nucleus (3 miles across). For more information, see the UMD Right Now article or the NASA press release NASA's Swift Sizes Up Comet ISON.

  • Distinguished University Prof. Emeritus Mike A'Hearn has been invited to provide written and spoken testimony for the House Committee on Science regarding Near-Earth Objects. He will be joined by fellow witnesses Ed Lu and Don Yeomans (Ph.D. '70).

  • The Voice of Russia radio station interviewed Prof. Alberto Bolatto on Mar. 15 about the new ALMA array of 66 radio telescopes in Chile, which is the largest of its kind in the world. Prof. Bolatto described the telescope array and discussed the expected science results. The link above contains the 12-minute interview.

  • Prof. Alberto Bolatto has won a Fraunhofer-Bessel Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation. This award goes to scientists and scholars who completed their doctorates less than 18 years ago, who are internationally recognized for their achievements in the field of applied research, and who in the future are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements which will have a seminal influence on their discipline beyond their immediate field of work. Award winners are invited to spend a period of up to one year cooperating on a long-term research project with specialist colleagues at a research institution in Germany. Congratulations, Alberto!

February 2013

  • We are sorry to report that Professor Emeritus Donat "Don" Wentzel succumbed to a fast-moving cancer at his daughter's house on February 20. Don was a superb scientist and educator, and a great friend of this department. He was well known for his work on plasma physics in the Sun and ISM, as a great educator, and for his public service to astronomy, for which he received the AAS Van Biesbroeck Prize in 2003. He was also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. His obituary is carried by the Washington Post.

  • Dr. Melissa Hayes-Gehrke was interviewed by CNN at the UMD Observatory in response to the Feb. 15 meteor explosion in Russia. Dr. Hayes-Gehrke is the instructor for the popular I-Series course, "ASTR 220 - Collisions in Space: The Threat of Asteroid Impacts". The CNN video segment also references the NASA Deep Impact mission, whose P.I. was Emeritus Distinguished University Prof. Mike A'Hearn. In addition to the CNN interview, Dr. Ludmilla Kolokolova was interviewed by "Voice of Russia" for a story on the meteor.

  • Alumna Alexandra Lockwood (B.S. '07) gave a talk titled Pushing the Boundaries (of Space and Your Mind!) as part of a Jan. 19 TEDxYouth program at CalTech. Alexandra, who is a graduate student at CalTech in Planetary Science, was a 2007 Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar at UMD and went on to star as Cecilia in "The Ph.D. Movie", a film about graduate student life (or lack thereof).

  • Comet ISON is the subject of ongoing observations by the UMD-led Deep Impact NASA space mission. ISON is considered to be a potential 'Comet of the Century' due to the possibility that it will have a spectacular showing in late 2012. The UMD press release (no longer available) has details about the comet and the scientific investigations being planned for it, a video of the comet made using Deep Impact's camera, and quotes by Associate Research Scientist Tony Farnham and Distinguished University Professor Emeritus Mike A'Hearn. For more info, see the BBC and Universe Today articles.

  • Alumnus Brett Morris (B.S. '12) recently had a first-author paper accepted in Astrophysical Journal Letters for his work with Prof. Drake Deming on Kepler observations of planet-induced stellar gravity darkening in the HAT-P-7b exoplanet system. This work was picked up by Science magazine and is getting attention!

January 2013

  • Grad student Rodrigo Herrera Camus won a "best poster" prize at the "First Year of ALMA Science" conference in Puerto Varas, Chile. His poster was on the first chapter of his thesis topic, showing the effort at calibrating [CII] as a star formation rate indicator for galaxies based on Herschel spectroscopic data within KINGFISH. There was much interest from the extragalactic community. Congratulations, Rodrigo!

  • Undergrad Steffi Yen won a Honorable Mention Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards award for the poster she presented at the recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society attended by over 3,000 astronomers. This is for research on damped Lyman-alpha galaxies done during her REU internship in Hawaii this past summer. Congratulations, Steffi!

  • Dr. Peter Teuben has been named the chair of the Advisory Committee for the Astrophysics Source Code Library (ASCL), which is a free, online reference library for source codes that have been used to generate results for refereed astronomy or astrophysics journal articles. This is expected to be a tremendous resource for our field!

  • Mark Moretto, a student at Briarcliff High School in New York, was selected as a semi-finalist for the Intel Science Talent Search, "the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition." He has been working with Prof. Mike A'Hearn and Dr. Lori Feaga on a project titled "Deep Impact Spectral Observations of Naturally Occurring Mini-Outbursts." There are 300 Intel STS semi-finalists nationwide, each receiving a $1000 award for outstanding research. Congratulations, Mark!

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