Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yet another case of JMUAstro students totally rocking at the AAS229

As the title says, our department's astronomy face was once again showing awesome data and results, along with grins and smiles at the most prestigious national conference in astronomy.

During the first week of January, three of our undergraduates, Catherine Witherspoon, Jason Ferguson, and Kenny Gordon, presented their works at the 229th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), in Grapevine, Texas.

For Kenny it was the first AAS meeting, while Catherine and Jason were now basically veterans (their first AAS participation was last year, at the 227th AAS meeting, presented to you here).

When you work hard on interesting projects and have nice results, you have to let the world know about them.  And they rocked:

Catherine unfolded new understanding of how colors of quasars are measured, based on the work she pursued during her Summer 2016 REU at the University of Wyoming:  New Quasar Surveys with WIRO: Colors of ~1000 Quasars at 0 < z < 3.  

Jason enchanted the audience with brand-new and sophisticated data of interacting galaxies from the Large Binocular Telescope, with his poster: Near-Infrared Spectroscopic Analysis of Galaxy Mergers: Revealing Obscured Accretion.   This project was possible thanks to funds from the 4-VA initiative at JMU, for collaboration between JMU and GMU astronomy faculty. 

Kenny presented: Image Analysis of OSIRIS-REx Touch-And-Go Camera System (TAGCAMS) Thermal Vacuum Test Images, which is work that he developed during past summer as an intern at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  

Catherine, Jason and Kenny are all seniors, and are quite engrossed into graduate school applications right now, so wish them best of luck with these tedious, yet, still creative endeavors (as part of their applications, they need to write about the research projects they envision for their future graduate thesis).  

We will keep you posted with their successes, just stay tuned.