Extra-solar planets was the theme of StarConn, an all-day convention and astronomy celebration held at Wesleyan on June 4. The event was an outreach effort presented by the Astronomical Society of Greater Hartford with the help of the university. The event featured lectures and a two-hour observing session with the 20-inch Clark refractor at Wesleyan’s Van Vleck Observatory.
Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy, was one of the speakers at the event. He is featured in a June 4 Meriden Record Journal article about StarConn. The article is online here.
Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy, has received funding from NASA for three research grants. From the Space Telescope Science Institute a grant of $138,639 for his research “A SNAPSHOT Survey of the Local Interstellar Medium: New NUV Observations of Stars with Archived FUV Observations”, and $50,766 for his research “Probing the Atomic & Molecular Inventory of the Beta-Pic Analog, the young, Edge-On Debris Disk of HD32297.” Both awards include new observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. From the JPL Spitzer Program $41,213 for his research of “Interactions of the Cold and Hot ISM: Imaging the Nearest Molecular Clouds in the Local Bubble.” This award includes new observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Redfield also was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant of $316,789, titled “Comparative Exoplanetology: Ground-Based Observations of the Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets.” For this work, Redfield is collaborating with colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin.
Hannah Sugarman ’09 speaks on “Finding Intermediate Mass Black Holes in the Local Universe” during the 18th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium Nov. 8.
Astronomers interested in black holes generally study small, low-mass types within our own galaxy, or super-massive black holes found in the center of other large galaxies. But during the 18th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium Nov. 7-8 at Wesleyan. astronomy major Hannah Sugarman ’09 explained the importance of finding intermediate mass black holes in the local universe.
“Small black holes are about 30 times the mass of the sun, and the big, super-massive black holes have a mass of about a million times the mass of the sun. Intermediate mass black holes are in between these mass limits,” Sugarman says. “They are important because if super-massive black holes are made by slightly smaller ones combining, we want to be able to observe the smaller ones to see how this works.”
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