Author Archives: Astronomy Department

Inclusive Astronomy Meeting Notes

Recent Meeting Notes 11/16/17:  Discussion was focused on the CIE medium and long-term goals.  Many of the goals covered by these sections are either already in place at the institutional level or are not something easily affected by department or student-level authority (e.g. “Provide three to six months of paid parental leave at all career…
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Paper Spotlight: “Determinations of the 12C/13C Ratio for the Secondary Stars of AE Aquarii, SS Cygni, and RU Pegasi”

A Type Ia supernova is the complete explosion of a white dwarf that was being orbited by a secondary star prior to the explosion. Their high luminosity allows them to be used as the primary cosmological distance indicator, yet their progenitors remain unknown. It is almost certain that the progenitors of Type Ia supernovae are…
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Paper Spotlight: “HALOGAS Observations of NGC 4559: Anomalous and Extra-planar HI and its Relation to Star Formation”

Carlos Vargas, a 5th year graduate student working with his adviser, Rene Walterbos, recently published a paper entitled “HALOGAS Observations of NGC 4559: Anomalous and Extra-planar HI and its Relation to Star Formation.” For this study, Carlos and the other authors analyzed new observations made by HALOGAS, a survey dedicated to analyzing interactions between spiral…
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Paper Spotlight: “A Possible Mechanism for Driving Oscillations in Hot Giant Planets”

In the same way earthquakes can shake the Earth when tectonic plates shift, so too can stars shake, or more scientifically, oscillate, as a result of the motion of hot plasma inside of the star. Similarly, gas giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn can oscillate, too, but astronomers aren’t exactly sure as to why. Recently,…
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NMSU Astronomy to lead efforts to reinvent the Dunn Solar Telescope.

  http://www.tomudall.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=2428 U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Steve Pearce announced that New Mexico State University (NMSU) will receive $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to upgrade the Richard B. Dunn Solar Telescope in Sunspot, N.M. The NSF award – appropriately announced on the fall equinox – will support…
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Major NASA press release on observation of a current sheet

NASA announce series of breakthrough observation of a current sheet in a solar flare. http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/seeing-double-nasa-missions-measure-solar-flare-from-2-spots-in-space Published in Zhu et al, ApJ, 2016, 821, 2 http://www.astronomy.com/news/2016/04/nasa-missions-measure-solar-flare-from-2-spots-in-space http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/irish-scientist-may-have-found-way-of-predicting-solar-flares-1.2616364 https://www.google.com/search?q=Seeing+Double%3A+NASA+Missions+Measure+Solar+Flare+from+2+Spots+in+Space&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 Solar flares are intense bursts of light from the sun. They are created when complicated magnetic fields suddenly and explosively rearrange themselves, converting magnetic energy into light through…
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Unconscious Bias

Astronomers know all about bias. We learn to anticipate and correct for biased samples and surveys early in our careers. For instance, when we started finding exoplanets, most of them were Hot Jupiters. Did we conclude that all exoplanets are actually Hot Jupiters? Of course not. In much the same way, individuals have biases, and…
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Inclusive Astronomy Achievements

Recently, we have been reading over the Nashville Recommendations and are exploring ways we can implement these recommendations in our department. Department Presentations On March 9, 2015 our group gave a Pizza Lunch presentation to the department describing the status of underrepresented groups in astronomy, and all STEM fields, and detailed some of the issues working against the success…
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