Tag Archive for Astronomy Department

5th Graders Sample Wesleyan Sciences

Brian Stewart, associate professor pf physics, demonstrates how liquid nitrogen looks like water but evaporates rapidly at room temperature. Fifth grade students from Snow Elementary School toured the Wesleyan sciences June 19.

Brian Stewart, associate professor pf physics, demonstrates how liquid nitrogen looks like water but evaporates rapidly at room temperature. Fifth grade students from Snow Elementary School toured the Wesleyan sciences June 19.

Vacek Miglus, lab technician and curator of the Physics Department, shows the students how various lamps are lit by a Tesla coil without being attached to wires. Brian Stewart is on the right.

Vacek Miglus, lab technician and curator of the Physics Department, shows the students how various lamps are lit by a Tesla coil without being attached to wires. Brian Stewart is on the right.

Laurel Appel, adjunct associate professor of biology, senior research associate and director of the McNair Program, watches DNA fibers come out of a solution as ice-cold alcohol meets the warm, salty, DNA solution. One of the students described the reaction as looking like a spiderweb.

Laurel Appel, adjunct associate professor of biology, senior research associate and director of the McNair Program, watches DNA fibers come out of a solution as ice-cold alcohol meets the warm, salty, DNA solution. One of the students described the reaction as looking like a spiderweb.

McNair fellow Kelley Miller '10, at right, helps the Snow Elementary School students isolate DNA from wheat germ. The recipe for this, and other experiments is online at http://lappel.web.wesleyan.edu/expts.htm.

McNair fellow Kelley Miller '10, at right, helps the Snow Elementary School students isolate DNA from wheat germ. The recipe for this, and other experiments is online at http://lappel.web.wesleyan.edu/expts.htm.

Astronomy graduate student Amy Langford, at right, teaches the students about Wesleyan's Alvan Clark 20-inch refractor telescope inside the observatory. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Astronomy graduate student Amy Langford, at right, teaches the students about Wesleyan's Alvan Clark 20-inch refractor telescope inside the observatory. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Redfield Awarded NASA, NSF Grants

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.

Saturn’s Rings, Siberian Eclipse Topics at KECK Symposium

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.

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.”

Climate Change Topic of Photography Exhibit

NAME speaks about her photograph titled "NAME" during the opening reception for the exhibit <i>Photographic Window on Causes of Climate Change</i> Nov. 5 in Van Vleck Observatory.

Erin Arai, a graduate student in astronomy, speaks about her photograph of a commuter rail station during the opening reception for the exhibit Photographic Window on Causes of Climate Change Nov. 5 in Van Vleck Observatory. All photographs in the show were taken by students enrolled in Astronomical Pedagogy Seminar, and exhibited waste and carbon use excesses.