Jean McKeever » Graduate Students

Jean McKeever

Graduate Student NMSUAstronomy

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Biographical Info


I am currently working with professors Jason Jackiewicz and Bernie McNamara. I study variability and pulsations in stars using Kepler data. My current project is looking at red giant branch (RGB) stars with solar-like oscillations, and in particular a subset of potentially superluminous RGB that have very low oscillation frequencies. I have previously looked at a large sample of B-stars within the Kepler dataset to classify and determine pulsation characteristics.

Much of my undergraduate research has centered around planetary nebulae (PN). My first project involved looking at the central stars of planetary nebulae within the MACHO database for both periodic and non-periodic variations. As a follow up to this project I also looked at symbiotic stars for variability.

My largest project was done with goal of finding new halo PN within the Milky Way Galaxy, using large databases, such as Sloan to identify likely candidates. Candidates identified from color queries in the SDSS database were then observed in g’ and [O III] filters using the 0.5-m ARCSAT telescope at APO. For candidates that showed and excess of [O III] emission, spectra with the DIS on the 3.5-m Telescope at APO were obtained to confirm identification as a PN.

A search for PN in open clusters was also undertaken using the 1-m telescope at Manastash Ridge Observatory, and the method of identifying objects with excess [O III] emission. In addition to this project, I studied abundances of some well known PN looking for correlations between chemical properties and physical parameters.

Another research project I had was studying high dispersion spectra obtained over a five month period during the last major outburst of the symbiotic star BF Cygni. I identified many emission lines present in the spectra and noted the changes in the line profiles over time. Most notable in our findings is the strong presence of Fe I emission lines.


The Classification of Kepler B-star Variables
B. McNamara, J. Jackiewicz, J. McKeever, 2012, AJ, 143, 101

The Dynamical Distance, RR Lyrae Absolute Magnitude, and Age of the Globular Cluster NGC 6266
B. McNamara, J. McKeever, 2011, AJ, 142, 163

High-Dispersion Spectroscopy of BF Cygni at the Beginning of the 2006 Outburst
J. McKeever, J. Lutz, G. Wallerstein, U. Munari, A. Siviero, 2011, PASP, 123, 1062

Planetary Nebula Central Stars and Symbiotic Stars in the MACHO Galactic Bulge Database
J. Lutz, O. Fraser, J. McKeever, D. Tugaga, 2010, PASP, 122, 524

Meetings Attended

Variable Red Supergiants: Solar-like Oscillations at Ultra-low Frequencies?
J. McKeever, J. Jackiewicz, P. Gaulme, 2012, 5th KASC Workshop, Balatonalmadi, Hungary

Emission Line Spectrum of BF Cyg
J. McKeever, J. Lutz, G. Wallerstein, U. Munari, A. Siviero, 2011, ASPC, 448, 677

Unusual Pulsation Properties of Red Giant Branch Stars in Kepler
J. McKeever, J. Jackiewicz, B. McNamara, J. McAteer, L. Boucheron, H. Cao, M. Kirk, K. Degrave, 2011, AAS 219th Meeting, 348.05

Spectra of 12 New Planetary Nebulae in the Milky Way Galaxy
J. McKeever, T. Gomez, B. Balick, J. Lutz, K. Kwitter, S. Snedden, 2011, AAS 217th Meeting, 256.09

Symbiotic Stars and Planetary Nebula Central Stars in the MACHO Galactic Bulge Database
J. McKeever, O. Fraser, J. Lutz, & D. Tugaga, 2010, AAS 215th Meeting, 418.03


Teaching and Outreach Activities