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AST News

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 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. 

AST Graduate Student Kristina Punzi accepted into the AAS Astronomy Ambassadors Program

January 9, 2017

Kristina Punzi, current AST PhD student, was  accepted into the AAS Astronomy Ambassadors program ( She was inducted at the 229th AAS meeting (January 2-3, 2017). 

Kristina presented at the 229th American Astronomical Society meeting in Grapevine, TX this past week (January 3-7, 2017). The title of her talk was: "An X-ray and Optical Spectroscopic Study of the Perplexing Star RZ Piscium." The undergraduate students she mentored during the 2016 summer REU  (Lydia Gingerich - Haverford College, Tori Knapp - Ithaca College)  presented a poster entitled: "The Evolutionary Status of the Enigmatic Field Star RZ Piscium: A Search for Comoving Companions." She was also interviewed by Astronomy Magazine about my research. 

Mauela Campanelli presents: Black Hole Mergers, Gravitational Waves and their Gaseous Environments

October 7, 2016

Manuela Campanelli, AST Faculty and director of the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation, presented "Black Hole Mergers, Gravitational Waves and their Gaseous Environments" at the Gruber Cosmology Conference at Yale University on Oct. 7 in celebration of the Gruber Cosmology Prize presented in July to Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne, Ronald Drever and the entire LIGO team, including members of Campanelli's center, for the first detection of gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes. Link

AST Students & Faculty Present a the Hidden Monsters Workshop

August 8, 2016

SoPA faculty members Jeyhan Kartaltepe, Billy Vazquez and Andy Robinson, along with Astrophysical Sciences and Technology Ph.D. students Triana Almeyda and Yashashree Jadhav, presented some of their latest research at a Workshop on supermassive black holes in galaxies, “Hidden Monsters: Obscured Active Galactic Nuclei and Connections to Galaxy Evolution". Drs Robinson and Vazquez presented talks on a large observational campaign using the Spitzer Space Telescope to map the interstellar dust distribution in active galactic nuclei, while 4th-year PhD student Almeyda presented a poster on her computer simulations of time-varying infrared emission from the dust. Second-year PhD student Jadhav presented a poster on the first results from her project, which uses Hubble Space Telescope images to search for recoiling supermassive black holes in nearby galaxies. Dr Kartaltepe presented a talk on near infrared spectroscopic observations, obtained with the Subaru and Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, of distant galaxies hosting obscured active nuclei.

The workshop was hosted by Dartmouth College, in Hanover, NH, USA, 8th-12th August 2016. 

From Left: Astrophysical Sciences and Technology PhD students Triana Almeyda and Yashashree Jadhav , at the "Hidden Monsters” workshop.