The AAVSO Program: A Resource for Variable Star Research
Stella Kafka, AAVSO
The AAVSO was formed in 1911 as a group of US-based amateur observers obtaining data in support of professional astronomy projects. Now, it has evolved into an International Organization with members and observers from both the professional and non-professional astronomical community, contributing photometry to a public photometric database of about 25,000 variable objects, and using it for research projects. As such, the AAVSO’s main claim to fame is that it successfully engages backyard Astronomers, educators, students and professional astronomers in astronomical research. I will present the main aspects of the association and how it has evolved with time to become a premium resource for variable star researchers. I will also discuss the various means that the AAVSO is using to support cutting-edge variable star science, and how it engages its members in projects building a stronger international astronomical community.
Dr. Stella Kafka, is the Director of the AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers). Before her tenure at the AAVSO, Dr Kafka held positions at CTIO, Spitzer Science center/Caltech, Carnegie Institution of Washington/DTM and AIP Publishing. The AAVSO is an international non-profit organization of variable star observers whose mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy.
Protoplanetary disk rotation curves and the kinematic detection of protoplanets
Simon Casassus, Universidad de Chile
Direct detections of protoplanets still embedded in a gaseous protoplanetary disk have been remarkably elusive in their thermal-IR radiation. Yet most models for the structures observed in disks involve planet/disk interactions. The gas and dust density fields are thus appealing proxies to trace embedded bodies, but they are not sufficient to ascertain a planetary origin. New hopes for protoplanet detection come from the disk kinematics, which should also bear their dynamical imprint. The last couple of years have seen the first indirect detection of protoplanets, with the observation of small deviations from Keplerian rotation in molecular line channel maps, and their reproduction in hydrodynamical simulations. Can we use the gas kinematics directly to pin-point the location and measure the dynamical mass of giant planets? The theoretical velocity reversal along the wakes of a protoplanet should be observable as a Doppler-flip, provided that the background flow is adequately subtracted. This axially symmetric flow is a generalized rotation curve, including also the radial and vertical velocity components, which bear the imprint of accretion, winds, and of the theoretical meridional flows in the case of planet/disk interactions. I will present a technique to calculate disk rotation curves, with applications to ALMA long baseline data in HD100546 and in HD163296.
The Circumgalactic Medium at Cosmic Noon with KCWI
Nikole Nielsen, Swinburne University of Technology
The star formation history of the universe reveals that galaxies most actively build their stellar mass at cosmic noon (z=1-3), roughly 10 billion years ago, with a decrease toward present-day. The resulting metal-enriched material ejected from these galaxies due to supernovae and stellar feedback is deposited into the circumgalactic medium (CGM), which is a massive reservoir of diffuse, multiphase gas out to radii of 200 kpc. The CGM is the interface between the intergalactic medium and the galaxy, through which accreting filaments of near-pristine gas must pass to contribute new star formation material to the galaxy and outflowing gas is later recycled. Simulating these baryon cycle flows is crucial for accurately modeling galaxy evolution. While the CGM is well-studied at z<1, little attention has been paid to the reservoir when star formation is most active due to the difficulty in identifying the host galaxies. The installation of the Keck Cosmic Web Imager (KCWI), an integral field spectrograph, on Keck II has opened a new window to quickly identify galaxies via their Lyman alpha emission at this redshift. I will introduce a new survey to build a catalog of absorber-galaxy pairs at z=2-3 with KCWI. With the combination of HST images, high-resolution quasar spectra, and the cutting-edge KCWI data, this survey aims to examine CGM kinematics and metallicities and relate them to the host galaxy star formation rates and orientations to reveal the baryon cycle at cosmic noon. https://nmsu.zoom.us/j/96153330256
Transitioning to Industry from Academia,
A common career path for recent astronomy graduates with a PhD is data science, but it can be difficult to parse through the enormous amount of information on how exactly to transition to this career. I graduated from NMSU in 2019 and transitioned immediately to an industry career in data science. This talk will be a quick background on my career path, how students can get into data science, and what an industry career in data science actually looks like day-to-day.