UNCA Astronomers Present at the 2019 AAS Meeting in Seattle

UNCA Astronomers Present at the 2019 AAS Meeting in Seattle

In the week before the start of the spring semester, five UNCA astronomers headed to Seattle, Washington for the 2019 Winter Meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

Physics major Makennah Bristow presented a poster at AAS for her second year in a row, this time describing her new research with Dr. David Wake on satellite galaxies in the SDSS-IV MaNGA Survey. During the meeting, Makennah’s exoplanet research from her 2017 summer internship at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center also made the news!

Physics major Darren Stroupe also attended AAS for his second year. This time, his research was accepted for a talk session, in which he presented his latest results on the dust properties of galaxies in the UltraVISTA survey that are associated with Mg II absorption in quasar spectra from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).  Over the past year Darren’s research has been supported by a North Carolina Space Grant scholarship, and he will be presenting more of his work at the upcoming NC Space Grant SPACE Symposium April 4-5, 2019 in Raleigh, NC.

Physics majors Callie Clontz and Samantha Creech attended AAS for the first time this year and both presented posters describing their work using observations from the Hubble Space Telescope.  Callie presented measurements of the H-alpha luminosity-dependent clustering of galaxies at 0.7<z<1.5 in the 3D-HST Survey — a project mentored by Dr. Wake.  Samantha presented measurements of the azimuthal distribution of cold metal-rich gas around galaxies at z~1, showing support for a model in which large-scale star formation driven winds extend to great distances (~80 kiloparsecs) around galaxies at early times.

UNCA Physics major Samantha Creech, presenting her research on the distribution of metal-rich gas in the halos of distant galaxies.


UNCA Physics major Callie Clontz describes her research on the clustering of distant galaxies.

UNCA Assistant Professor Britt Lundgren, who serves as a Co-Chair of Education and Public Outreach for the SDSS-IV survey, helped to organize a giveaway of retired spectroscopic plug plates from the first three generations of the SDSS survey.  (The plates are accompanied by SDSS-related astronomy education resources, and since they also make gorgeous coffee tables and wall art, they were the meeting’s most popular swag!) Britt also led SDSS-related activities with groups of local high school students as part of an annual outreach event organized by the AAS.

UNCA Assistant Professor Britt Lundgren talks to local high school students about galaxies and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. (Photo credit: Ani Thakar, Johns Hopkins University)


SDSS-IV Survey engineer Juan Trujillo (University of Washington) helps package a retired SDSS plate for an AAS attendee. About 200 plates were distributed during the meeting to help make space for new SDSS-IV plates at the University of Washington’s plate lab. (Photo credit: Ani Thakar, Johns Hopkins University)


The Directors of SDSS-IV and SDSS-V (Michael Blanton – New York University and Juna Kollmeier – Carnegie Observatories) and University of Washington student Teagan O’Reilly helped organize the distribution of retired SDSS plates to a long line of AAS participants. (Photo credit: Ani Thakar, Johns Hopkins University)


Everyone is now back in Asheville and using the weekend to recharge for the start of the spring semester!

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