This week, January 27-February 1, 2014, features Meg Schwamb. Meg is an Academia Sinica Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Academia Sinica (ASIAA) in Taipei, Taiwan. She is a planetary scientist and astronomer interested in planet formation and the evolution of planetary systems including our own Solar System. She is searching for exoplanets with the Planet Hunters citizen science project, which enlists members of the general public to search for the signatures of transiting exoplanets in data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. Meg uses the results from Planet Hunters classifications to explore the frequencies of planetary systems. In addition, Meg is a science team member of Planet Four , a citizen science project to study the Martian climate by utilizing human pattern recognition to map seasonal fans on the South Pole of Mars. Meg also has studied the small body populations of the outer Solar System in the Kuiper belt and beyond. In her spare time, she can usually be found baking and hanging out with her black cat Stella. The other 51 weeks of the year, you can find Meg at @megschwamb.
I am excited to be hosting week two (19-25 Jan 2014) of Astrotweeps! I am an astrophysicist who works on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) at Ohio State University. SDSS was responsible for producing the largest color image of the sky ever made – a trillion pixels that would require half a million HDTVs to display. But that’s old news – the current phase of the survey has collected over a million spectra of stars and galaxies. A spectrum is a measurement where the light is split into different wavelengths, like that you would see through a prism. My current research interest is using this data to learn how galaxies evolve over time and even the histories of individual galaxies. I am also interested in the data science aspect of research; how we as astronomers can analyze and do science with far more data than we’ve ever had access to. It’s a good problem to have, but not a solved one. I’m also a contributor to the Astropy project. I am also interested in public outreach and run a chapter of Astronomy On Tap. In a prior life, I worked on a dark matter experiment called DRIFT, located 1.1km underground in a working mine that is a stone’s throw from where Dracula landed in England. I also curl.
I look forward to your questions on galaxy evolution, dark matter, curling, or anything else you’d like to hear about! Send questions to @astrotweeps or as a comment on this blog post. After this week, you can follow me on Twitter at @demitrimuna and @scicoder.
This week, January 13-18, 2014, features Niall Deacon. Niall is a postdoctoral astronomer working at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. He specialises in using large scale surveys of the sky to identify failed stars called brown dwarfs to understand how they form and the processes which go on in their atmospheres. These objects are typically the same size as Jupiter but 12-80 times as massive and much hotter. They form a bridge between giant planets and stars helping us to learn more about both. Niall also is active in astronomy outreach, producing astronomy videos such as Don’t Call Me Colin and others. When not working, he is a keen pub quizzer, supports Scotland and Falkirk FC (so is used to seeing teams in dark blue lose) and hates referring to himself in the third person.
Starting Monday, follow along with astrotweeps on Twitter, Facebook, or right here on the Astrotweeps webpage. If you have questions for Niall, you can post them in the comments below or ask him on Twitter at @astrotweeps. For the remaining 51 weeks of the year, you can follow Niall at @nialldeacon on Twitter.
Astrotweeps started with the Hack Day at the 223rd American Astronomical Society meeting and is inspired by the AstroCanada Twitter account. So what exactly is Astrotweeps? Each week we feature an astronomer or planetary scientist that takes over the @astrotweeps account and tweets about their science, research, and interesting news in their field. You can follow along on Twitter, Facebook, or right here on the Astrotweeps webpage.
We’ll post a blog giving you some background on our featured scientist at the beginning of the week. You can can post questions by tweeting to @astrotweeps or posting in the blog comments. Check out the schedule of astrotweeps and follow along!
If you’re an astronomer or planetary scientist interested in contributing sign up today.