Telescope Science Institute to Support Redfield’s Cool Stars Project

Olivia DrakeJanuary 20, 20112min
Seth Redfield

Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy, received a $55,973 grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute to support the Advanced Spectra Library Project: Cool Stars.

The grant will allow Redfield to facilitate the analysis of data collected on the Hubble Space Telescope and travel to meetings to present the results. He will collaborate with 20 other researchers from around the world on the project.

“All astronomers, worldwide, put in proposals once a year to use the Hubble to get observations.  They get about 10 times more requests than they have time to give,” Redfield explains. “If you are approved, you send the details of the observations to them, they program them into the computer onboard the spacecraft, and then a couple weeks later you get an e-mail to download your data from the Space Telescope Science Institute web site.”

The project will receive data  from 150 orbits, which is 6 percent of all the time on the Hubble allocated to astronomers worldwide this year. These observations will produce a high quality spectroscopic atlas of eight sun-like, or “cool” stars, which will be used by the wider community for decades to come.

The immediate scientific research enabled by this project will involve magnetic activity, space weather, disk winds of young stars, red dwarf flares, erosion of exoplanet atmospheres, and the properties of the intervening gas and dust in Earth’s cosmic neighborhood.

The grant will support the Cool Stars program through Nov. 30, 2013.