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.
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.
The Astrophysical Sciences and Technology program had a record number of PhDs graduating this year including Dmitry Vorobiev (Spring 2017), Andy Lipnicky (Summer 2017), Yuanhao “Harry” Zhang (Summer 2017), Triana Almeyda (Summer 2017), Alexander Rasskazov (Summer 2017), and Dennis Bowen (Fall 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
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 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 Faculty Michael Zemcov published Nature Paper: Measurement of the cosmic optical backgroundusing the long range reconnaissance imager onNew Horizons Full Article Here
Dr. Zemcov also published a paper in the Astrophysical Journal on: New Spectral Evidence of an Unaccounted Component of the Near-infrared Extragalactic Background Light from the CIBER Full Article Here
A recent study led by AST PhD Student Dennis Bowen presents the first exploration of gas dynamics in relativistic binary black hole systems in which each black hole is surrounded by its own small accretion disk. View Full Article Here