Faculty Research

Star Formation in the Milky Way and other Galaxies - Dr. Chris Depree:

Chris De Pree studies star formation in the Milky Way and other galaxies (using the EVLA radio telescope), and exoplanetary transits (using the SARA-North and SARA-South optical telescopes). De Pree and has several active projects that are structured to involve student work. Interested students should have taken Astronomy 120 and 121, as well as Physics 202-203. Familiarity with computers is helpful, but not essential, as you will be able to learn the software needed to analyze the data. Observations are made with the Expanded Very Large Array (EVLA) in Socorro, New Mexico and the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) telescopes located at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) in Arizona, Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO) in Chile and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (RM) in the Canary Islands.

Radio Gas Dynamics in Comets and Optical Asteroid Lightcurves - Dr. Amy Lovell:

Amy Lovell works with computational simulations of cometary atmospheres, based on long-wavelength radio observations with the Arecibo 305m radio telescope in Puerto Rico, and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.  She also works with students observing and constructing lightcurves of near-Earth asteroids, and monitoring Jupiter-family comets for potential outbursts (using the SARA optical telescopes). Interested students should have taken Astronomy 200L, and PHY 202-203 are recommended, as well as some programming experience (for the simulations).

Studying Massive Stars with Optical Interferometry - Dr. Katie Gordon:

Katie Gordon earned her Ph.D. in astronomy at Georgia State University and studies massive stars with optical interferometry using the CHARA Array. These stars are 10 to 90 times more massive than our Sun and will end their lives in spectacular supernovae, creating black holes or neutron stars. Optical interferometry is a quickly growing field in astronomy that allows us to make unprecedented measurements of stars. By combining several telescopes into one large aperture, astronomers are able to measure the angular diameters of faraway stars and even reconstruct images of what the surface of these stars may look like. Accurately measuring the sizes of stars can lead to a better understanding of fundamental stellar parameters such as temperature, mass and age, while image reconstruction can lead to discoveries about the complicated and ever changing environments around stars. Dr. Gordon focuses on measuring fundamental parameters, such as size and temperature, of massive spectral type O and B stars.