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AST News

AST had the largest contingent of student presenters at the Astronomical Society of New York's annual meeting

November 10, 2017

On November 10-11, AST students, faculty, and postdocs attended the annual meeting of the Astronomical Society of New York at Union College in Schenectady, NY. Three students (Kevin Cooke, Yashashree Jahdav, and Chi Nguyen) gave talks at the meeting while five students (Victoria Butler, Annie Dickson Vandervelde, Trent Seelig, Meaghann Stoelting, and Brittany Vanderhoof) presented posters. AST had the largest contingent of student presenters at the meeting and all were well-received.

AST PhD student's Mysterious "Winking" Star research published and highlighted by NASA

December 21, 2017

Kristina Punzi, AST PhD Student, published a paper concerning a mysterious "winking" star RZ Piscium, that suddenly dims by a factor of 10-20 in brightness. Her paper describes her research team’s new XMM-Newton X-ray and ground-based (Keck and Lick Observatory) optical spectroscopy results that (a) nail down the youth of the star and (b) provide strong evidence that the star's dimming is most likely caused by the intermittently intervening wreckage of one or more giant planet(s) now being "eaten" by the star.

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AST Faculty in LIGO-Virgo Scientific Collaboration help pinpoint merger

September 27, 2017

Mapping black hole collisions gives astronomers (and hitchhikers) a new guide, RIT researchers in LIGO-Virgo Scientific Collaboration help pinpoint merger.  AST faculty researchers helped pinpoint the precise location of a gravitational wave signal—and the black hole merger that produced it—detected by gravitational wave observatories in the United States and in Europe. Full Article

AST Faculty Michael Zemcov, as a member of the SPHEREx mission proposal team, wins 2 million NASA grant

August 31, 2017
Dr. Michael Zemcov is a co-I on the SPHEREx mission proposal, led by principal investigator James Bock, receiving a $2 million NASA grant to conduct a 9 month concept study. Dr. Zemcov’s main involvement will be on data reduction and analysis of the mission as well as other aspects of science and technology development.  

AST Faculty Joel Kastner will be a discussion leader at Gordon Conference

June 18, 2017

Joel Kastner will be a Discussion Leader at next week's Gordon Conference on Origins of Solar Systems Titled:  "Making a Habitable Planet"
The Gordon Conference on Origins of Solar Systems brings together a diverse group of scientists to discuss research at the frontier of understanding how planets and planetary systems form. Invited speakers from the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmochemistry, planetary science, and geochemistry will present their latest findings. At this meeting discussions will take place with a focus on how the Earth and its analogs received their inventory of volatile compounds that provide the basis for a habitable world.

AST Faculty Michael Zemcov successful integration & test at NASA Wallops Flight Facility

April 11, 2017

AST Faculty Michael Zemcov took CSTARS, the undergraduate student-lead star tracking camera, to NASA Wallops Flight Facility in VA for integration and test.  The group successfully integrated the instrument into the payload and took images of simulated stars at cryogenic temperatures at optical wavelengths, which is a first.  Unfortunately they ran into trouble with the electronics and had to come off the mission, but we’re almost ready to fly.