Jodi Berdis » Planetary Group

Jodi Berdis

Graduate Student NMSUAstronomy
575.646.3000 Personal page

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Biographical Info

My research interests include stellar-planetary relationships; planet/moon habitability; protoplanetary disks; exoplanet detection, characterization, and composition; astrobiology.



Towards the end of 2015, I began working with Dr. Jim Murphy on water vapor abundances in Mars’ atmosphere near several of the craters that recently showed signs of hydrated salts in the form of recurring slope lineae (RSLs). These RSLs appear during local spring and summer on downward slopes, and have been linked to the evaporation of liquid water which leaves behind streaks of briny material [Ojha et al. (2015)]. I am using data from the Viking Orbiters 1 & 2 MAWD (Mars Atmospheric Water Detector) and IRTM (Infrared Thermal Mapper), as well as the MGS (Mars Global Surveyor) TES (Thermal Emission Spectrometer) to track the evaporative supply of water vapor in the atmosphere. See animated GIFs of spatial and temporal distribution of water vapor abundance for Hale Crater, Horowitz Crater, Palikir Crater, and Coprates Chasma. I have thus far successfully identified a strong correlation between surface temperature and water vapor abundances, and I have determined approximate average water vapor abundances (in precipitable microns) within each location at specific time intervals throughout the Martian year. Measurements from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) instrument will also be included in this assessment. Additionally, I will use a General Circulation Model (GCM) of Mars’ atmosphere to determine the amount of surface water required to supply the minimally detectable water abundance signals in the MAWD and TES measurements. This will aid in the assessment of any measured water vapor signals potentially connected to RSL formation. The result could reveal the origin of water vapor, and could provide constraints on the amount of surface water that originally caused the RSLs. Additionally, the amount of detectable water could put constraints on the capabilities of the recently launched ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter to detect water released by RSLs.

During the fall of 2015, I worked with Dr. Moire Prescott to create line ratio plots from spectroscopic data of a Lyman-alpha nebula at redshift ~1.67. The resulting code takes input FITS files for different line profiles, computes signal ratios and errors, produces a line ratio profile with respect to position along the slit, and outputs a .txt file of all signal/error data used for the profiles.


Undergraduate Research

My senior thesis was titled, “Spectropolarimetric Observations of the Accreting Binary System V356 Sagittarii,” with Dr. John Wisniewski. This project included subtracting the interstellar polarization contribution in our data (obtained by the Half-Wave Spectropolarimeter during its time at both the Pine Bluff Observatory and the Ritter Observatory), then analyzing the intrinsic polarization and position angle of the system as a function of phase. Investigating the distribution of circumstellar material of the accretion disk provided insight on the system’s evolution as a progenitor Type Ia supernova. The resulting paper is linked here, and the accompanying poster is linked here.

In addition, during the fall of 2013, I assisted Mr. James Davenport and Dr. John Wisniewski with identifying M-dwarf flares in Mr. Davenport’s IDL-based program FBeye, which utilized photometric data from the Kepler Space Telescope. The resulting publication is linked here.


Teaching and Outreach Activities

Spring 2016 – Astronomy 105 TA

Fall 2015 – Astronomy 105 TA

Updated 8 months ago.