Introducing Nicole Gugliucci

Astronomer, writer, educator, skeptic, maker-of-tiny-comets, and all around geek Dr. Nicole Gugliucci has made it her mission to study and share the Universe. Known as the “NoisyAstronomer,” she earned a doctorate studying radio astronomy in 2012 from the University of Virginia and working with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Having started with millimeter-wavelength radio astronomy in college, she worked her way down the spectrum to the 2-meter wavelength work of PAPER, an array in South Africa to search for the hydrogen in the early Universe. She now leads the informal education efforts and participates in educational research with the citizen science project CosmoQuest. She travels to conventions around the country sharing citizen science with whomever will listen. She tweets as @NoisyAstronomer, a pun on radio astronomy and her birthplace of New York City.

Introducing Sarah Tuttle

Sarah Tuttle was born and raised in Santa Cruz, California.  She received her PhD in Astronomy from Columbia University where she flew balloons for a living.  They mostly only crashed in a controlled way, on purpose.  She currently works for McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin building astronomical instruments and hunting dark energy. As the instrument scientist for VIRUS, she is building a massively replicated spectrograph that takes 33,600 simultaneous spectra to feed 150 identical spectrographs.  When she finishes building them all.  Her science interests currently meander through topics in galaxy evolution, especially gas and the regulation of star formation.   She lives with her husband and children in Austin.  When she isn’t swinging wrenches in the name of science, she is chasing chickens in the backyard or checking on the family beehive.  Sarah loves academia enough to believe it is broken, but worth fixing. She would be happy to fight a cage match about ways we can improve our gender, racial, and socio-economic diversity as a field.

Sarah’s Astrotweeps week can be found here: http://sfy.co/SUNw

Introducing Breann Sitarski

Breann is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is a member of the Galactic Center Group and AO-Optimization collaboration. She spends most of her time watching how infrared excess sources go around the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Center and characterizing these sources through imaging (to get temperatures and extent) and spectroscopy (to get their radial velocities and chemical composition). She primarily uses the Keck telescopes in Hawaii to make her observations. 

One of her other projects involves characterizing the point spread function of the NIRC2 camera on the Keck II telescope and seeing how it varies across the field of view of the telescope. This variation can cause a lot of problems for precise astrometry and photometry, so fixing this is pretty important. She normally tweets from @bsit026. She spends her non-science hours playing intramural sports with the rest of the Astronomy Department at UCLA, writing, reading, doing archery, sewing, and studying history.

Introducing Jonathan Fortney

This week, April 6-12, features Jonathan Fortney. Jonathan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is mostly a modeler and spends a lot of time thinking about how to characterize exoplanets. Jonathan’s interests range from the interior structure and thermal evolution of planets to planetary atmospheres and spectra. This is “planets” fairly broadly defined, and ranges from small rocky words to brown dwarfs at tens of Jupiter masses. Jonathan also works on solar system problems involving the interior structure of our giant planets. Lately he is particularly interested in using planetary bulk densities (from transits) or emitted spectra to understand exoplanetary composition, and tying that back to planet formation.

Jonathan has been a member of the Kepler science team since 2009 and is also a Co-I on the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey. His group at UC Santa Cruz covers a wide range of topics, and now includes 3 postdocs (Nadine Nettelmann:giant planet interiors, Mike Line: planetary atmospheres, Kevin Moore: double-diffusive convection), 4 grad students (Eric Lopez: sub-Neptune evolution, Caroline Morley: cloudy atmospheres, Daniel Thorngren:Transiting planet structure, Chris Mankovich: double-diffusive convection), and 6 undergrads. Jonathan normally tweets from @jjfplanet. Most non-science hours revolve around his family, including copyright guru @kfortney, his boys, age 4 and 7, and following Minnesota sports teams.